Art and Culture 

The Private Space

Eight Elements of the House

Luis Fernández-Galiano 

Elías Salaverría, Estudio de interior, 1903

The exploration of domestic intimacy that inspired the exhibition ‘El espacio privado: cinco siglos en veinte palabras’ (‘Private Space: Five Centuries in Twenty Words’ at the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, 1990) is abridged and extended here. Abridged because the words are only eight, corresponding to those that in Arquitectura Viva 169, ‘Elements’ (2014) were interpreted as the elements of the house, that along with those of construction, of composition, and of the city made 32. And extended because, aside from adding some images, the ‘prose’ section of each text is woven now with the pieces selected for the show, and the ‘verse’ section is entirely new, both in the choice of poetic fragments and in their intertwined presentation. Our lives unfurl not only in houses, but they provide the best stage for the ceremonies of the everyday. 

In contrast with the somber interior of Salaverría, the women of Murillo look out onto the street resting on the frame of the window and on that of the canvas, crossing the line between private and public, in a genre painting on gender.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Dos mujeres en la ventana, h. 1655-60 

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