Memorias biográficas de pintores extrordinarios, de William Beckford – Fuensanta Niñirola

Memorias biográficas de pintores extrordinarios, de William Beckford – Fuensanta Niñirola

Memorias biográficas de pintores extraordinarios, de William Beckford [1]

 

 

 

«La palabra falsa puede ser espejo de la verdad» es una cita del gramático latino Aphthonius  que figura al comienzo del libro, para darnos una pista de lo que vamos a encontrar: la ironía, el esperpento, el presentar las cosas al revés o de modo exagerado, la ficción puede ser una parábola que haga ver la realidad que no vemos cuando trasegamos con ella a diario.

Así como Borges creó al ficticio personaje al que llamó Pierre Menard, que supuestamente era el verdadero autor de El Quijote, y algunos otros autores como Schwob, Bolaño, o el mismo Max Aub con su artista ficticio Josep Torres Campalans, crearon vidas imaginarias con la apariencia de realidad, las Memorias Biográficas de William Beckfordse enmarcan como un precedente dentro de esta tradición.

Obviamente Beckford escribió un divertimento con estas cinco piezas sobre las vidas de artistas que si bien no existieron, sí existían ―y Beckford, gran aficionado al arte y observadorpudo comprobarlo ―, comportamientos y usos muy semejantes a los que se exhiben en estas páginas, de modo hilarante y jocoso, exagerado y esperpéntico, a modo de espejo distorsionador en el que mirarse los defectos agrandados.

 

William Thomas Beckford

 

Aldrovandus Magnus (Brujas, 1473), es el primero de ellos, y el texto más largo, con un desmedido final, cuando el artista tras recolectar una ingente cantidad de lienzos para un enorme proyecto pictórico, los ve consumirse por las llamas, produciéndole tal desesperación, que le lleva a la muerte. Le siguen sus supuestos discípulos y seguidores, Andrés Güelfo y Og de Basan, cuyas vidas y caracteres contrapuestos muestran una paradoja continua y disparatada, recorriendo Italia en diversas aventuras jocosas y altamente románticas (en el sentido del romanticismo clásico). El vienés Sucrewasser, el dálmata Blunderbussiana, hijo de un bandido que aprende a dibujar diseccionando los cadáveres que su padre y colegas proporcionaban como resultado de sus negocios. El holandés Watersouchy es el último de los artistas biografiados. Todos muestran vidas delirantes y esperpénticas, aunque las descripciones de sus pinturas sean detalladísimas, así como los recorridos viajeros de los ficticios personajes, probablemente basados en los propios viajes de Beckford. Destacable es el cuidado con que el autor elige los nombres de sus imaginarios personajes, todos ellos de significados desternillantes.

 

William Thomas Beckford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J. G. Lockhart, biógrafo de Walter Scott, dijo de estas Memorias que son «una serie de brillantes y agudas sátiras de los pintores de la escuela flamenca, trazadas con lenguaje pulido y penetrante, con un sarcasmo al tiempo hondo y delicado, en un desempeño en el que el optimismo juvenil se compensa gracias a los resultados de una observación muy extensa y a juicios que son propios de un gusto… refinado». Sugiere Martínez-Lage que el joven Beckford escribió estos textos para ayudar al ama de llaves cuando ésta había de informar a los visitantes de la famosa pinacoteca familiar, lo que le producía a la vez gran hilaridad. Relaciona también el autor del postfacio la idea de la biografía, en este caso imaginaria, con el inicio por esa época, de la gran tradición biográfica británica, que Boswell comenzó con la vida, esta vez real, del Dr. Samuel Johnson.

En suma, un librito divertido, interesante, muy bien traducido y con unos comentarios harto jugosos.

____________

William Thomas Beckford (1760 – 1844) fue un escritor británico, viajero empedernido, coleccionista, arquitecto, parlamentario, amante del arte, en fin, cuya vida también podría considerarse como excéntrica. Aunque su obra más conocida es una novela gótica, Vathek, escribió este librito alrededor de los veinte años, aunque en circunstancias algo confusas, como el editor John Lettice afirma en el Aviso a la primera edición de 1780. La vida de Beckford tiene algunas similitudes a la de otro británico de la época, Lord Byron. Hijo del alcalde de la ciudad, un adinerado personaje que proveyó a su vástago los medios para una vida cómoda, le permitió dedicarse a las cosas que le gustaban: viajar y coleccionar arte. Conocía, pues, la obra de numerosos artistas tanto contemporáneos como clásicos, y asimismo las vidas de muchos artistas.

 

Fuensanta Niñirola

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Nota

  1. William Beckford. Memorias biográficas de pintores extraordinarios. Traducción y Epílogo de Miguel Martínez-Lage. Editorial Sexto Piso, Madrid, 2008. ISBN: 978-84-968-6721-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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