DUENDE in 2-D VISUAL ARTS: GARNERING 2-D EFFUSIONS of SATURNAL DUENDE: by Dr. José
An Introduction to Duende Theory:
In Federico Garcia-Lorca’s acclaimed essay Play and Theory of the Duende (1933), Duende is defined as one of three incarnations of artistic
inspiration, rousing human creativity. In the essay, Lorca identifies three distinct spiritual entities that inspire all human creativity: 1). the muses,
The muses are essentially the nine (9) daughters of Mnemosyne(1-a) (Goddess of Memory), who were simultaneously conceived as a result of
Zeus’s rape of their mother. All nine are the devoted companions of their half-brother Apollo (God of Beauty, Light, Poetry, Music, Purity, and the
radiant sun)(1-b). For 90% of all artists, these nine sisters are the inspirational source of human creativity, ingenuity, and art; especially, given
that reminiscence (“memory”) is generally the intended subject-matter (or theme) of most art and creativity. This hypothesis is corroborated by
the aesthetic theories of Wordsworth, Proust, Tolstoy, Dewey, Freud, Breton and most leading art theorists, who relate art to experience(s).
Moreover, even the counterargument of Amnesis theory, which has been proposed by Dr. Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz (the Bolivian poet and
aesthetic theorist) purports amnesia (“the loss of memory”) as the true-source of human artistic creativity; thereby, brilliantly inverting the
remembrance/recollection aesthetic(s) of Wordsworth, Proust, Tolstoy, Dewey, Freud and Breton.
With such a strong philosophical advocacy of a doctrine of art as “experience,” “memory,” “reverie,” or “the forgotten,” throughout art history, a universal focus on the past for
inspiration is generally evident, e.g., Idealism, Classicism, Academicism, the Grand-Manner, Romanticism, Symbolism, Surrealism, as well as all forms of contemporary Geometric-
Abstraction, Conceptual Art, Minimal Art, Hard-Edge Art, Text-based Art, Amnesis Art, and generally most ART. The artists devoted to the muses are: Apelles, Giotto, Masaccio,
Uccello, van der Weyden, early-Michelangelo, Raphael (The School of Athens), Holbein the Younger, Poussin, David, Ingres, Delacroix, Cezanne, Picasso, Rivera, Grant Wood,
Barnett Newman, Warhol, Jaspar Johns, Judy Chicago, Claudio Bravo, Judy Baca, Mark Tansey, Maya Lin (The Vietnam Memorial’s polished black-granite list of dead) or Kara
Walker. These muse(s)-inspired artists create by focusing exclusively on every aspect of memory [[i.e., remembered, or historical events, and things-of-the-past (historical records,
relics, artifacts, objets d’art and/or readymades).
Occasionally muses are overwhelmed by their Apollonian routine duties (1-b), and they unintentionally forget to inspire, or they (bravely or foolishly) give artists free-reign, thereby
permitting artists to seek the forgotten (e.g., amnesis lost objects) through unremembered oversight, “omission(s),” or by not inspiring; thereby they inadvertently permit artist to access
traps, voids, wormholes or lacunae (gaps or lost-realms containing, or not-containing, missing things and objects)]]. Hence, by their thoughtless omissions, both positive and negative
muses indirectly allow all forms of memory (reminiscence, reverie, and recollection) and all forms of forgetfulness (not recalling, overlooking, avoidance, amnesia and/or disregard),
forgetting lost things, events, persons, memories and objects, etc). Nevertheless, since 90% of artistic creative inspiration derives from muses; Lorca (in his Duende essay) argues
that all these positive and/or negative memory-based approaches to human creativity and art are academic (art historical and scientific) distractions or ruses that lead both artists and
audiences far away from what is (“in his opinion”) truly sublime in art: the duende!
Lorca’s harangue against all forms of creative inspiration enthused by muses is matched only by his disdain of angelic inspiration in the arts. Unlike backward-looking muses, angels
base their inspiration on the future, because their inimitable form of creative inspiration is generally farsighted, prophetic, and telepathic; their inspiration presages future-aspiration(s).
Angels hover around certain (childlike, innocent, playful and hyper-imaginative) “future-oriented” artists (i.e., Fra Angelico, Fr. Lippi, young-Botticelli, da Messina, Cranach the Elder,
Murillo, Blake, Turner, Monet, Dufy, Chagall, Matisse, Delaunay, Miró, Reverón, Frankenthaler, Chihuly, Julie Mehretu, Ultra Violet and Salvatore Tagliarino, etc., etcetera), carefully
guiding them toward the future, as well as salvation. On the other hand, the duende eschews both the past (muses) and the future (angels); because the duende’s only concern is the
here-&-now (“the present”). For Lorca, the duende is “creation made act!”(2.a.)
Defining the Duende:
The exegesis of the term duende stems from Lorca’s fascination with Gypsy culture. In the essay Play and Theory of the Duende (1933), Lorca draws clear-cut distinctions between
Galician (northern Spanish) duendes (goblin-gnomes, leprechauns, or “Mr. Nobody”) and the unanticipated yet ever-present skeletal duende of southern Spain. As a native of
Granada, Lorca was intimately familiar with Andalusian gypsy-culture; its aesthetic values, musical dance styles, and mystique. His poems and tragedies were inspired by a powerful
Granadaean duende. This southern duende, Lorca describes as an Andalusian specter dwelling, “from the rock of Jaen to the shell of Cádiz”(2.b.). Interestingly, both the playful
Galic elfin duendes and the life-threatening southern Gypsy “Old Kronos” duende are madcap reckless calaveras,
who rebuke prudence and caution, and insist on risk and daring. The tiny fat Galician northern duende is merely
mischievous, unruly, and has no interest in inspiring art or creativity. On the other hand, cloaked in a red mantle,
the hot-marrowed bony Andalusian duende is a looming red-skeleton, who without ceremony (scythe and hourglass
in hand(s)) targets beleaguered, tormented, suffering, struggling or harassed artists prompting them to heights of
astonishing creative brilliance. By forcing a creative individual to instantaneously confront both “the present” as
Present and “death” as Death, this mysterious red skeleton incites great art (i.e., Lascaux Cave, Altamira Cave,
Kline, Rothko, Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, Rafael Canogar, Ana Mendieta, Anselm Kiefer, etc.).
The History of Duende:
Lorca’s historic and revolutionary examination of the tri-fold nature of creativity evolved from his thorough
investigation and meditation on Andalusian Gypsy’s canto-hondo (“deep song”) and, its relationship to various specific Andalusian Gypsy dance-forms. However, beyond his innate
Gypsyphilia; also at play within Lorca’s discovery of the triumvirate of human creative-inspiration (muses, angels, and duende) are his own
feelings of being unfairly targeted, victimized, tormented
and harassed by his former lover and friend Salvador
Dalí. Hence, during the early 1930s, another ostensible
source, which presumably affected the sudden advent of
Lorca’s duende theory was his apparent fixation with the
art and ideas of his ‘old’ college-friend and “crush:”
Salvador Dalí (3). Despite the fact that Lorca had
grown estranged from Dali; due to alleged insults
purportedly aimed at the poet within Dalí’s and Luis
Buňuel’s collaborative Surrealist film: An Andalusian
Dog, 1929. Something in that film had greatly grieved
and insulted Lorca to the point that he left Europe to
attend Columbia University (New York City, NY) in
Even before his departure, Lorca was aware of the
evolving aesthetic formulation of what would eventually
become Dali’s “Critical Paranoid Method”(4). Starting
in 1928 with his Anti-Artistic Manifesto, Dalí asserted that great art sprang from courageous confrontations and reactions against
overwhelming uncertainty, terror, fear and dread, thereby yielding hyper-imaginative forms of profound and sublime art. Nevertheless, Dali’s
foremost artistic interests were (for the most part) psychological or concerned by-and-large with visual perception; and not with defining (as
Lorca identified from 1930 to 1934) three extraordinary incarnations (or “spiritual entities”), who utilized distinctive divine powers and
approaches for provoking, conjuring, or evoking artistic creativity: muses, angels, and the duende. Thus, an attempt to out-theorize Dalí on the nature of art and artistic-creativity may
have been another factor, beyond his profound Gypsyphilia, propelling Lorca’s ideas about the inherent nature of duende as a primal and terrifying manifestation of the creative-
impulse, originating through (or by means of) a valiant face-to-face encounter (in the “Present”) with “Death”(5).
In 1930, Lorca departed NYC, heading back to Spain with a brief stop-over in Cuba. According to Ben Belitt, it was during his Havana sojourn that he began gathering and developing
the initial working-draft of Play and Theory of the Duende. Frequently, between 1930 and 1934, Lorca’s budding duende theory was his main theoretical and aesthetic pursuit and a
lively topic of conversation. After three years in Spain, in 1933, Lorca shipped on the Spanish passenger-liner Conte Grande from Barcelona to Buenos Aires, Argentina; to attend the
American premier of his play Blood Wedding. During that voyage, he completed the tragedy Yerma and put the finishing touches on the Duende-essay. While in Buenos Aires, he
met the poet Pablo Neruda, who was serving as Chilean Consul to Argentina. Neruda was present for Lorca’s lecture entitled Play and Theory of the Duende, which was delivered
at the Sociedad Amigos del Arte, Buenos Aires in 1933(6). It was during this Buenos Aires lecture that Lorca revealed and defined his innovative theory pertaining to three paranormal
incarnations (muses, angels, and the duende) responsible for all human artistic inspiration and creativity in all the arts.
Further Comparing and Contrasting of the Duende with Muses & Angels:
In the essay, Lorca argues that most art is created via inspiration from the muses, who are obsessed with (or by) the past. For Lorca, “muse-inspired” art is created via memory
(memories), experiences, preconceptions, or previously known things and ideas. According to Lorca, this need for artistic-reminiscence preoccupies Classicism, Academicism,
Romanticism, all forms of Geometric-Abstraction, and generally most ART (approximately 90% of all art is of the muses). We find the muses lingering behind Lord Byron’s and William
Wordsworth’s Romantic idea that, ‘Poetry [“Art”] is "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility"(7). In the visual arts, the
muse-engendered or muse-stimulated artists include Apelles, Giotto, Masaccio, Uccello, Perugino, Michelangelo, Raphael, Poussin, David, Ingres, Delacroix, Cezanne, Picasso,
Rivera, etc. In fact, most artists (in all fields of creativity) universally belong to the muses’ group --- the list is enormous, and could include, as well, e.g., Grant Wood, Barnett Newman,
Judy Chicago, Judy Baca, Mark Tansey, Maya Lin, or Kara Walker.
In terms of their features, characteristics, and peculiarities, the muses’ criteria as well as that of angels and the duende are not exclusive or restricted to western European or American
art and culture. In actuality, these three divine embodiments of inspiration originate in India; and are presumably, at their core, best understood within their Eastern context, e.g., the
duende as Kali (“Black Time”) or as Lorca asserts: the duende is the Dionysian impulse (and therefore, the Bacchic impulse, as well as the Krishna impulse, and hence, the Vishnu
(Hari)/Brahman impulse). The duende is equally Shiva(Hara) dancing the nataraja dance, consequently also at play in the duende is the divine Hari-Hara. In this “inherited” Asian
perspective, muses (shaktas (devis)), angels (asuras (devas)), and the duende (Shri Krishna as Kali) are manifestations or avatars of various primordial (elemental) Hindu divinities.
In terms of the origin of duende, Gypsy artistry is a passion that originated in India (among a group of low-caste performers whose DNA is traceable to the Rajputs of Rajasthan. In the
5th Century CE, thousands of Rajput traveling musicians (Zotts or Luris (Lulis)) split into various tribes
(Doms, Kolis, Jats, etc.), started migrating or were officially displaced from India; heading first to Persia,
and then wandering for centuries. Until, by and large, they settled in Egypt, where their developing cultural
identity was carefully honed, crafted and perfected. Subsequently, Gypsies spread throughout Eastern
Europe becoming the Rom (Romi) of Romania, or, from Egypt, they crossed North Africa into Spain --
becoming the Gitanos. In Spain, over-centuries, their extraordinary culture evolved into something deep,
inherent, and profound. Spain provided a rich emotional and metaphysical soil; perfect for garnering the
effusions of Saturnal duende. Equally, we could map the migration of Hindu-Aryan shaktas into the Greek
Ionian muses or the Hindu-Aryan asuras into Hebraic angels, easily plotting their transcultural evolution
from India into Europe.
Regarding the Angel, as described above, Lorca sees angelic art in terms of the future (not the past). It
represents about 9% of all art. Angelic artists are radiant, colorful, hyper-imaginative and airy artists like
Fra Angelico, Fra Lippi, the young-Botticelli, Lochner, Fouquet, da Messina, Cranach the Elder, Altdorfer,
Runge, Blake, Turner, Monet, Renoir, Chagall, Dufy, Henri Rousseau,
Franz Marc, Matisse, Miró, Reverón, Helen Frankenthaler, Faith Ringgold,
Miriam Schapiro, Chris Ofili, as well as others. Distaining gravity, angelic
art is visionary, floating, bright-hued and levitating, while prophetically
aiming at the future. For Lorca, angelic-art is an art of brilliant foresight,
vivid presages, longing anticipation and celestial prophecy. However,
rarely some artists (i.e., Bosch, El Greco, Baldung Grien, Bruegel the Elder, Rembrandt, Rossetti, Duchamp, Kahlo and Koh) simultaneously manifests
both angelic and duendesque tendencies in their unique imagery and style. Hence, some unusual artists manifest two or more inspirational sources (or
traits) in their art, e.g., contemporary artists like Duda Penteado and Charles Hayes maintain both angelic and duende aspects; equally José Rodeiro
and Raul Villarreal have manifested (from time-to-time) all three modes of inspiration in their art. But this is extremely rare; since Lorca clearly states
that the arrival of the duende ultimately drives out the other sources of inspiration, always (in time) putting to flight angels and muses.
Lorca’s conception of the duende is not based on the little goblin of northern Spain; rather it is the Andalusian duende (the “Spirit of Death Walking”), a
walking red-robed skeleton with a scythe and hour-glass: reminiscent of the dead-god Saturn. For Lorca, duende represents less than 1% of all
artistic creativity; because it signifies a difficult task: the creation of art “fully” in the presence of Death . . . thus, risking everything. Equally, it is the
creation of art in the here-&-now (the present). Thus, it confronts death in the absolute present! The art of the duende includes Piranesi’s Prison
Munch’s Berlin works; Nolde’s Masks, as well as masterpieces by these significant Abstract Expressionists, i.e., Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline’s black-&-
white paintings; Robert Motherwell’s Elegies, or his Duende Series, the bulk of George McNeil’s “scalded art”; Anselm Kiefer’s "Unknown Masterpiece," Herb Rosenberg’s The
the art of Sergio Villamizar ((to name a few duende-masters)).
Duende’s Artistic Manifestations:
In 1934, Roberto Matta (the Chilean Surrestist), whose art is generally angelic, traveled to Spain, where he met the Spanish poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca who
introduced him to Salvador Dalí, whose art is generally muse(s)-oriented. Afterward, Dalí arranged for
Matta to meet the founder and leader of Surrealism, Andre Breton (a “muse(s)-inspired” poet). During
this time, as he had done previously with Dali at La Residencia in Madrid (in the early-1920s), Lorca
guided and mentored the angelic Matta as a protégé. They often discussed the duende, but Matta,
despite his best efforts, usually fell short of duende’s full creative potential. Nevertheless, Matta
understood the theory and eventually instructed other artists on duende’s main points. For instance,
attributable to his friendship with Matta, which started in 1941, Robert Motherwell (an American pioneer
of Abstract Expressionism) was the first American artist to consider the artistic ramifications of Lorca’s
duende theory. Earlier, during his study at Columbia University with Meyer Shapiro in 1938, Robert
Motherwell was well aware that Garcia-Lorca had traversed those hallowed halls, during the poet’s brief
Columbia University matriculation (1929-1930). Matta traveled with Motherwell to Mexico in 1941,
during that journey, Lorca's theory was often discussed.
By mid-century, via their conversations with Motherwell and Matta at the American Abstract Artists
Association (AAAA) on Riverside Drive (NYC), NYU Art Club, and at the Arts Student League; Arshile
Gorky, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and George McNeil were exposed to the basic tenets
of duende. In the late-1940s and 1950s, during his numerous sojourns in Cuba, McNeil often discussed
duende with his friend Wifredo Lam. Consistent with the obvious duende that pervades Van Gogh’s late
“colorful” works, both McNeil and Lam were artists that used a bright “high-key” palette to reach duende’s
emotive intensity and depth. However, the use of bright hue to attain duende requires a rare (nearly
impossible) contradictory capability; the ability to utilize high-key chromatic-colors as though hues were
and of course The Wheatfield with Crows, etc. etcetera). This same ironic gift is evident throughout the artworks of George McNeil and Wifredo Lam. McNeil and Lam’s breathtaking
artistic achievements and colorful marvels are a direct result of Motherwell’s zealous duende fervor. Nevertheless, Motherwell always relied on simply “black-as-black” for his black-&-
white ventures into duende that are instantly recognizable, i.e., in At Five in the Afternoon; and throughout the Elegies to the Spanish Republic series.
Today, many artists follow Motherwell’s heroic path and example, wisely pursuing the radical and profound aesthetic views described throughout Lorca’s essay on duende, in order to
enhance or inform their work with this dark enigmatic and extraordinary inspiration. Throughout the first decade of the 21st Century, Sergio Villamizar (a New York City artist of
Colombian ancestry) is one of the best contemporary advocates of duende; his art harbors a tough-minded charcoal black virulent duende that potently surges through his highly-
exceptional, superb, and dangerous imagery. Both in his woodcut prints and his large magnetic photo-collages, Villamizer’s ominous imagery is hyper-intense, drastically invigorating,
and eye catching. Exactly as Lorca described, for Villamizar, duende is a ‘natural,’ integral, and organic condition that haunts his art. From
Broadway & LRC Galleries, exhibiting in a two-man show (with José Rodeiro) curated by Jane Haw (PCCC’s Gallery Director)(8).
Unlike Villamizar, Rodeiro (whose atypical attempts at duende are, for the most part, rare or occasional; although he is an artist who has used
bright hue to attain duende, e.g., his Sunflowers image painted only in varying bright yellow hues; is nevertheless infused with duende, which
harken back to the colorful-duende phenomenon, which was realized by Van Gogh, Wifredo Lam, and George McNeil. In this light, it is
important to know that Rodeiro was both a student and an employee of Dr. George McNeil (Director of Graduate Art History, Pratt Institute,
NYC), for whom Rodeiro taught courses in Medieval Art, Renaissance Art, and Baroque & Rococo art history in mid-1970s. Nevertheless,
despite Rodeiro’s occasional grappling with duende; historically, his art is mostly muse-oriented or even at times angelic. Hence, what made
this fall 2010 PCCC Broadway & LRC Galleries show remarkable was the visual dichotomy between Villamizar’s “true,” natural, and inherent
duende and Rodeiro’s odd, awkward, and reticent duende.
In the early-1990s Villamizar learned about the duende via conversations with Rodeiro in Jersey City, NJ. In the late 1960s, while strolling
beneath reams of dark dangling Spanish moss in Plant Park (Tampa, Florida), along with Dr. Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz (the Bolivian poet and
aesthetic theorist), Alan Britt (currently, America’s most published poet), and Charles Hayes (the brilliant Hudson Valley poet/photographer),
Rodeiro learned about duende from American poet Duane Locke. Also, in the 1980s in Ybor City (Tampa, Florida) both Suárez-Araúz and
Rodeiro had the good fortune to know Malcolm Morley (the true father of both American “Superrrealism” and American Young-Turk “Neo-
Expressionism”). Morley knew about Ben Belitt’s translation of Lorca’s duende theory through his first-wife Fran Bull, who was familiar with Ben
Belitt at Bennington, Vermont, during her student years. In 1955, Belitt translated Lorca’s Duende essay as part of his edited book: Garcia
Lorca, Poet in New York, Grove Press (NYC, NY), which was read (“carefully studied”) by all of the above artists and poets. Important to Rodeiro is the fact that Morley in his
expressionistic imagery often revealed a powerful duende evoked by brilliant virtuoso applications of bright pigment like Van Gogh, McNeil, and Lam.
prints and drawings) and the Whitman-esque artist Charles Hayes (in his photographs) manifest distinct, and yet, potent duende(s). For example, in her assorted 2-D works, Vargas
realizes dramatic and highly emotive imagery predicated by her virtuoso use of vibrant and sublime black-shades. Correspondingly, Charles Hayes, a Hudson River Valley shamanic
artist, has been known to chase full-moon(s) [(as well as crescent moon(s) or half-moon(s)] with his camera, ecstatically ambushing the moon as “she” danced camouflaged within
Among the most prominent 21st Century American practitioners of duende are: Sergio Villamizar with his authentic and authoritative duende’s “duende;” Virna Vargas with her black-
shade, sublime, and virtuoso imagery; Charles Hayes with his Moonspun-images, which take duende to another level of profundity;” Hugo Morales’s Goya-esque Silent Scream
The Science of Duende:
According to several neurologists, the human brain is a triune cognitive system comprised of three (“3”) distinctly different brains. Neurologist, Paul MacLean has identified and named
three: 1). the original core or basal-brain: the “Reptilian” or “R-complex” brain, which he calls the nutritive brain. The next brain that MacLean recognized is 2). the Paleo-mammalian
or Limbic System Brain that he named, “the Mammal brain” or sensitive brain. And lastly, he has explored the vast potential of 3). the Neo-cortex or cerebrum, which he has
designated the mental-brain. Some scientists speculate that the human nervous system informs all three brains simultaneously with the same identical information. However, due to
how each brain functions; or is ultimately designed (or how each slowly evolved); they respond or react differently to ‘received-data.’ For example, the reptile brain is primal
(primordial), rudimentary, and survival-oriented; it is only concerned with ‘present-consciousness’ and self-preservation. Yet, in terms of Lorca’s theory, it is this hyper-aware and self-
preserving conscious reptile brain that best manifests or correlates to the duende. When creating art by means of an intercession with the death-laden “now;” presumably, only
about 1% of all artists utilize their reptile brain to properly channel (or attain) duende’s inspiration.
On the other hand, Lorca’s muses agitate the Limbic System’s mammal brain (the sensitive brain), which is concerned with 90% of human creativity, as well as all phenomenal and
transcendental things, especially creature comfort(s), approbation, approval, success, nesting, materialism, companionship, sexual pleasure, affection, and other reassurances. In
contrast, the futuristic “new brain” or Neo-Cortex mental-brain controls about 9% of all angelic artistic inspiration, and is where immanent superconscious activity reigns, e.g., where
telepathy, parapsychology, metaphysics, noumena and the numinous occur. When it springs-forth from the soul or the heart, immanentism can be superconscious (future-directed).
However, when it rises-up from the marrow of the bones, immanentism manifests duende’s present consciousness. The muses are never immanentist; they are, at all times, merely
Another triune scientific or psychological analogue that indirectly relates to Lorca’s theory of muses, angels, and the duende is evident within Freudian and Post-Freudian
psychoanalytical theories. For example, Breton’s and Dalí’s [currently] much maligned hero, Sigmund Freud (Father of Psychoanalysis) divided-up human awareness into three
distinct capacities (1. consciousness, 2. pre-consciousness, and 3. sub-consciousness), as well as dividing human-personality into three corresponding traits (Ego, Id, and Super-Ego).
However, in order to meet the requirements of Lorca’s Duende theory, an addition (or a superimposition) of Gwendolyn Bays’s Theory of Superconsciouness should be overlain on-top
of Freud’s established three levels-of-awareness; thereby reorganizing and reconsidering them as: the UNCONSCIOUS memory-realm of the past; the SUPERCONSCIOUS prophetic-
realm of the future; and the CONSCIOUS here-&-now realm of the present. According to this psychological tri-part system, muses reside within UNCONSCIOUS memory or the past;
relating to Freud’s notion of the “Id:” because whatever is greatly coveted always secretly relates to feelings of loss or recollection. In this memory realm, muses guide and prohibit.
Muses are “Id-realizing” entities, searching for lost or forgotten past(s), wherein historically, the sensitive-brain’s mammalian [(physical or materialistic)] needs are met. Hence, muses
summon forth glorious, joyful, or sad memories (i.e., Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey)(10) that reorient or reinvigorate our aspirations (via art or other tasks) that aim at ambition,
success, celebrity, academic notoriety and/or fame. Consequently, the Id is what a person wants to be. Acclaimed 20th Century artists (i.e., Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Andy
Warhol) fit this “Muses-based” Id-ian mode to a “T.”
On the other hand, Lorca’s angels dwell in a future-oriented SUPERCONSCIOUS realm(s); relating to Freud’s notion of the “Super-Ego:” because what is wished-for always furtively
transmits, at least, insightful revelations about future aspirations. Gwendolyn Bays held that, “The superconscious mind contains the future; in the same way, an acorn contains an
oaktree.” Prophetically, angels dazzle and shed grace; permitting spiritual or angelic Super Egos to fly toward ethereal, celestial, and airy goals, i.e., paradise, heaven, clouds,
pinnacles or even William Blake’s heavenly “hell.” Via metaphysical spirituality, the mental-brain’s superconsciousness connotes fanciful, brilliant, and imaginative fantasy-worlds,
which include(s) our Super Ego’s dreams and wishes for the future.
Over the course of millions of years, each brain allegedly grew out of (or evolved from) the previous brain; the original root-brain being the reptilian R-complex brain, which slowly
eventually generated the mammal-brain (sensitive brain), wherein muses abide reflecting on all things past. However, due to its focus on the present, Lorca’s duende exists in the
reptilian sphere. The duende’s reptile-brain is fixated on present-consciousness; obsessed, and mistrusting of everything surrounding it; overwhelmed by a true and devastating
“critical paranoia,” which goes far beyond Dalí’s mere fear-of-criticism (Dalí’s apprehension concerning Kantian critiques). Instead with terribilità, the duende inhabits the here-&-now,
relating to Freud’s notion of the “Ego.” Yet, despite its numerous exaggerations of Fichtean egotism, duende is the hardest thing to (do, or) achieve in art owing to the fact that one
must be totally aware of everything that surrounds one, and (completely in the present), i.e., Goya’s Black Paintings, Pollock’s action paintings, and Motherwell’s Eligies. In the 21st
Century, to be in the state of duende is to be completely aware, as you confront yourself confronting yourself, without disguise(s), facing who you actually are free of role-playing,
games, ruses, camouflage, make-up or masks. Without concealment of any kind, the duende represents (via art) failure as triumph and triumph as failure, because it “brazen out”
and thoroughly individualizes precisely what a truly creative person is: “creation made act (11).”
Lorca’s Duende essay is within the Appendix of Ben Belitt’s translation of Lorca’s POET IN NEW YORK, Grove Press Book (NYC, NY). Also, New Directions published it in another
translation by Christopher Maurer in a book entitled: In Search of Duende. There is also a another version available online: A. S. Kline’s translation of Lorca’s Theory & Play of the
1(a & b). Hesiod. Theogony 52-76 [The Muses are Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia and Urania].
Living on Mount Helicon near Apollo’s Mount Parnassus; the Muses follow a daily routine. Before sunset, each muse arrives on Parnassus to comfort Apollo; and at dawn, each
departs (after he chariots-off -- carrying the sun across the sky).
2(a & b). Garcia-Lorca, Federico. The Duende: Theory and Divertissement (1934) Ben Belitt translation, 1955.
In the above essay, Lorca compares the well-known mischievous Galician-Celtic leprechaun duendes of northern Spain, contrasting those imps with the rare Andalusian Saturn-like
presence of “Death” striding across the earth in the here-and-now (“the present”).
3. Ana Dali (Salvador Dalí’s sister’s account of her brother’s amorous relationship with Lorca); although Dalí vehemently denied this in The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.
Antonina Rodrigo’s Lorca Dalí – Una amistad traicionada. Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1981.
4. Dali’s sharp reaction to the news of Lorca’s assassination in 1936; abruptly cutting-off Gala and his vacation in Switzerland, “temporarily” vowing to return to Spain to avenge his
friend’s death by joining the Fascist rebellion. The irony of this is that Lorca was executed by right-wing Fascist elements in Granada.
5. Via Roberto Matta and other friends, Lorca often received updates on Dalí’s whereabouts, activities, ideas, and art; equally Dali kept abreast of Lorca’s art and life (2). Dalí’s
marriage to Gala further estranged him from Lorca.
6. Gleaves Robert M. “Neruda and Lorca: A Meeting of Poetic Minds.” Research Studies, 48 (3), September, 1980
During this period, Lorca and Neruda collaborated on other events and presentations; Lorca also travelled within Latin America.
7. Wordsworth, William. 4th edition Lyrical Ballads 1805.
This groundbreaking exhibition curated by Ms Jane Haw precipitated this essay: DUENDE in 2-D VISUAL ARTS: GARNERING 2-D EFFUSIONS of SATURNAL DUENDE: by José
9. Villarreal, René & Raúl. Hemingway’s Cuban Son. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2011.
Ernest Hemingway was the Godfather of René Villarreal. Hemingway had a close relationship with Picasso, Miró, and some of the other 20th Century artists mentioned in the above
essay. Passages in Hemingway’s novels sporadically manifest the duende’s tragic ebullience. For example, it is to some extent present in the final chapter of To Have & Have Not.
10. William Wordsworth’s poem: “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798.”