The secrets of the new unofficial portraits of the Kings

The “Mayte Spínola” Museum of Contemporary Art in Marmolejo (Jaén) is about to receive two of its most special pieces. This center was created in 2004 with a donation from the artists belonging to the “ProArte y Cultura” Group, whose founder and director is Mayte Spínola. In addition, within its Board of Trustees there are prominent figures such as the Mayor of the town, the writer Carmen Posadas, the historian Carmen Iglesias, the businesswoman Alicia Koplowitz and the art patron Baroness Thyssen.

The Kings before the delivery of the Cervantes Prize. / Gtres

As this digital has been able to know, next month, the art center is going to hang two new portraits on its walls. But these are not just any portraits, but a couple of canvases of the Kings. Some very special paintings that Mayte Spínola has commissioned from two outstanding artists on the national scene: Imma Merino and Marta de Arespacochaga.

LOOK has been able to speak with the two artists, as well as with Mayte Spinolaabout this important project. The patron has kindly attended this portal “the mayor and the councilor for Culture told me that they wanted to have the portraits of the King and Queen and I commissioned them from the two artists”. Mayte Spínola has commented that at the moment it is not known if the King and Queen will later be able to visit the museum and see the portraits: “they are always invited”, she has said. The patron has stressed that no type of guideline has been given to both painters: “the artist always has to be free, beyond some issues of logic, of etiquette, since they are going to preside over a museum”.

Imma Merino, creator of the portrait of Doña Letizia

In conversation with this digital, Imma Merino has commented that the portrait was already commissioned by Mayte Spinola last December and that, in his case, it has already been finished and sent to Marmolejo, although he does not know the exact date on which it will be exhibited: “I think it will be around May 27 or 28, coinciding with a delivery of medals”, he assures. She herself confirmed through social networks that she had already completed the portrait and even shared details of it: “I am finished, this portrait of Queen Letizia will be exhibited at the entrance of a wonderful museum. Painting an institutional portrait is always a challenge, it is not enough to achieve a physical resemblance, you also have to manage to convey the personality of the person portrayed, respecting the formality of the place where it will be exhibited, adding something of the personality of the painter, in this case mine”, he has written the artist.

A painting in which Doña Letizia is seen looking straight ahead, with her hair down, soft makeup and dressed in red, her fetish color. Imma acknowledges that for this portrait she has made many sketches, “especially in my head, I don’t start drawing until I have it quite clear”. The artist explains that it has been based on photographs of her: “I had no contact with her, I understand that they do not pose for her, which I understand”, she comments.

While not much of a personal touch can be applied to the face, it is something that he has been able to do on the body: “there is the most creative, freest part,” he said. Imma assures that she did have some guidelines regarding the posture and dimensions of the portrait: “although the face is facing forward, the body is turned a little, looking at the King, so that everything makes sense”, she emphasizes.

For the painter, the most tedious part was perhaps the choice of dress: “I got carried away a bit there. I was seeing a lot of her dresses, hers and others. A suit that would fit her, but that I would also like”, she maintains, while she states that the color was very clear to her from the beginning: “Mayte also suggested that it be red”. Merino says that she had to maintain a formal appearance, but that, at the same time, she wanted a touch of movement, through asymmetries. “As it is a portrait of a Queen, I wanted to give it a slightly more modern look.”

The artist has explained that she has been in continuous contact with Marta de Arespacochaga, responsible for the portrait of the King: “we have been talking all the time, so that the sizes and other aspects coincide, that it be balanced. But we’ve done it all over the phone because we haven’t been together.” Ella imma recognizes that in this specific case, the painting has taken her more time than usual, since it is a larger portrait than she is used to doing. “I started painting it in February and have finished it now. Then there’s the front part, thinking about the painting and doodling.” Merino comments that Mayte Spínola offered to paint the Queenalthough he also asked her if she preferred the King: “since I had already painted the King in the past, I thought that now the Queen is better,” says the artist, who reveals that she has also painted Doña Letizia in the past.

As to whether the Kings have proof of these portraits, Imma maintains that she is not sure. “I know that the first portrait I did for the Queen, Mayte told me that she had seen it, but the other painting went to Georgia,” says the painter, who acknowledges that “I liked this one more.”

Marta de Arespacochaga and the portrait of Don Felipe

While Imma Merino’s painting of Doña Letizia has already been seen, not so that of the King, painted by the artist Marta de Arespacochaga. LOOK has been able to comment with her on the details of this portrait. As she has explained to this digital, she still has a few days left to finish the painting, which will be exhibited in front of Doña Letizia’s at the Marmolejo Museum

“It is a classic, realistic portrait, the way I have always liked to paint. I try to be faithful to the colors, to the expression of the face. To paint the King I really like the uniforms, the decorations, the contrast between the whites and the blues. This portrait wants to reflect Don Felipe, dressed in uniform. He represents him a bit smiling, to take the strain off the uniform. A smile that contrasts”, declared the artist.

Marta de Arespacochaga has explained how the process of painting this portrait has been: “it has been like the rest of my paintings. Inspired by the Internet, in the King’s photographs, I have studied it very wellLike Queen Letizia, I watch them a lot. It has been a bit of a long process, because I have been interrupted by a lot of things that I had”. The artist acknowledges that the most difficult thing has been her face: “the most difficult thing has been the face of the King. I am very insistent with the resemblance and with trying to get expressions ”.

As Imma Merino has commented, Marta de Arespacochaga has also had freedom at the time of painting, although she has been in contact with her so that both portraits were in the same line.

It is not the first time that he has painted the King and Queen, in fact, the monarch and his wife are aware of his work: “I sent Casa Real two photographs of the last portraits I made of them. They were charming because they wrote to me in his own handwriting, especially the King, but naming the Queen. They congratulated me very much for the work he had done. He made me very excited ”, he commented.

The artist has acknowledged that, in addition to the King and Queen, she would like to paint her daughters: “Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía are at a beautiful age and they are also very beautiful. I think I would have a delicate and beautiful thing, ”she stressed.