By Juan Miret
Hispano de Tulsa
TULSA — To have extracted “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez from the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, is undoubtedly the most precious gifts that the Venezuelan artist Wladimir Zabaleta, 67, has given the world and especially Latin America.
Velázquez’s eternally famous work, considered one of the symbols of Western painting, was reinvented with the mist of the Caribbean sea and the mischievous brushes of one of Venezuela’s contemporary artists who enjoys a wide international exposure.
“The fascinating thing about the work of Velásquez is its realism. And a realism that is so beautiful that it does not hide the ugliness of the people,” Zabaleta said as he approached a monumental Menina, one of his own, titled “Tribute to Our Lady,” which is perhaps the largest Infanta Margarita (queen’s daughter) ever created. Situated on the north side of Valencia,Venezuela, It was unveiled on Jan. 27 as part of the beginning of a cultural program titled “Ciudad Museo” (City Museum), which uses very large outdoor sculptures to highlight creative talent.
“The genius of Velazquez and his infinite genius make you forget for a moment the subjective ugliness of people and you fall in love with painting, with sculpture, with art.”
Zabaleta fixed his gaze for a few moments on his work, then described it as if he were reciting a poem: “She is like a little lantern in a large tunnel of artistic needs,” he said, adding that “only art and education allow us to dream. Although I do not paint dreams, I get inspired by a work to make others dream…”