Art Exhibit Celebrates Spain's Humanist Alliance
With America Against Britain
by Anton Chaitkin
October 18, 2007
The National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, in cooperation with authorities in Spain, has created an unprecedented exhibition on the alliance of Spain with the American Revolution. "Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Indpendence," displays art works depicting the humanist king Carlos III and the main Spanish figures supporting his humanist initiatives in economics, expulsion of the Jesuits, and other strategic matters; and American leaders of a kindred spirit, all centered around Benjamin Franklin, continuing to the next generation of Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams and Washington Irving.
Portraits by Francisco Goya, Gilbert Stuart, and other fine artists are featured.
The story told, in the captions as well as the art, is remarkably congruent with the groundbreaking article by Will Wertz and Cruz del Carmen Moreno de Cota Wertz, "Spain's Carlos III and the American System," in Fidelio, Spring/Summer 2004.
The curator, Caroline Carr, told EIR that she developed the idea for the exhibition in the course of work with Spaniards who were commemorating Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday (1706/2006), and who were specifically interested in the national bank created by Carlos III to develop Spain and to help finance the American cause. It was thought crucial to tell the story of this alliance, which is virtually unknown to Americans.
This extraordinary exhibit will run until February 8, 2008.
The Natonal Portrait Gallery, a section of the U.S. government's Smithsonian Institution, at 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, is now arguably America's finest history museum. It occupies the building erected in 1836 to house invention models for the patent office, and now beutifully redecorated to celebrate art and the republic. The Gallery's permanent exhibits include portraits of all the Presidents and of great numbers of other leaders in politics and culture, and a large and growing display of American artists of particularly the 19th Century.
Spain’s Carlos III and the American Revolution (PDF) (Fidelio, Spring 2004)