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Cristobal Balenciaga’s Arty Inspirations
Life imitates art, and in this case, fashion
Art x Style 01 Aug 2019


Born in Getaria in Basque Spain, fashion icon Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) was lauded by everyone from Christian Dior to Coco Chanel. But did you know that some of his biggest inspirations came from art and not fashion? In a new exhibition at Museo Thyssen in Madrid, the Spanish master’s clothes are displayed alongside work by the old masters of Spanish art.

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Balenciaga and Spanish painting. ???? #Madrid

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The exhibition includes over 50 paintings dating from the 16th to the 20th century, amongst works by Zurbaran, el Greco, Velazquez and Goya, including portraits of Kings, Queens and their children. There are also 90 of Balenciaga’s designs (so that makes about 140 artworks in total then…)


Balenciaga began working since childhood for one of the wealthiest families in Spain, exposed to their art collection and their couture wardrobe, before going on to create his eponymous line. So, it seems that a legit way to become a creative genius might well be to work for someone stupidly rich, perhaps the jealousy will lead you on to create something truly great. (Or make you extremely depressed, it’s a delicate balance tbh)


The show lets art guide us through Balenciaga’s gowns, showing us influences from still life paintings, church paintings and focusing on some of Spain’s most revered artists.

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Cristóbal Balenciaga y el Arte ❤️ . Gracias al @museothyssen por hacernos disfrutar y descubrir la complicidad entre el arte y la moda. . Gracias a Cristobal Balenciaga por tanta Belleza!!! Lo que hubiera dado yo por haber trabajado para el …. simplemente admirando su obra mientras le pasaba los alfileres ❤️ . Y un millón de gracias a mi prima @beatrizsatrustegui que es la mejor guía que se puede tener!!! Seguir todo lo que hace y organiza porque es la mejor!!! Gracias Beis!!! Como siempre da gusto ir de tu mano, es otro mundo!!! ❤️ . . . . . . #exposicionthyssen #cristobalbalenciagayelarte #museothyssen #cristobalbalenciaga #genio #arte #altacostrura #lovinghautecouture #hautcouturelover #art #espectacular #loque disfrutamos

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If you can speak Spanish, you will be able to watch a film of the exhibition’s curator Eloy Martinez de la Pera talking you through a tour of the show on the museum’s website, if not, don’t fear, Christie’s specialist Jonquil O’Reilly has also made a video.
Balenciaga and Spanish Painting is on display at Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid until 22 September 2019
 
Text Lizzy Vartanian
Images via @rosetdor, @chicchiccheek, @laconicum, @anasatrustegui, @ignacioaguado_fotos, @ramoncasascarbo

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