Marbella Old Town has an extra attraction this festive season with a new Route of Painted Windows. The initiative was presented on Wednesday by the councillor for the historic town centre, Baldomero León, and artist Juan Anhelo, the creator of the scheme.
Five of the shop windows now boast ephemeral works of art on the glass, inspired by Masters such as Dalí, Klimt and Picasso but with an additional Christmas touch thanks to Anhelo's artistic interpretation.
This is another excuse to take a stroll through the centre of Marbella and see how a 16th century fountain leads on to a Picassian nativity scene in Calle Nueva: in this painting a unique St Joseph from Picasso's blue period plays the guitar while the dove of peace flies over a scene portraying a cubist Mary with Jesus.
A few steps further on, the Casa del Corregidor is now joined by Velázquez's Las Meninas, who from Calle Estación observe the comings and goings of residents and visitors through the Plaza de los Naranjos.
The route is completed by works inspired by Dalí, Van Gogh and Klimt in Calle Francisco Echamendi, Calle Castillejos and the Plaza de la Victoria, respectively.
These are world famous artists who have inspired this creator because this way "nobody is going to wonder whether it is a work of art or not. Nobody is going to question whether they are any good because everyone already knows that they are," Anhelo explained. "I wanted to bring that knowledge closer and decorate it for Christmas," he said. That is why his personal interpretation of Christmas can be seen in the works which now grace the shop windows. For example, Starry Night and The Siesta by Van Gogh in the composition in Calle Castillejos, in which a couple rest from their hard work in the countryside under the starry sky "I used artistic licence and put Jesus in the picture, in a basket. I take it as given that they are Mary, Joseph and the baby," the artist said. On the right-hand side, there is also a reference to Marbella with La Concha mountain and the lighthouse.
The inspiration from Gustav Klimt came from The Tree of Life and The Kiss. As in the case of Van Gogh, Anhelo has placed a baby in the scene "to give it a family aspect with Joseph kissing Mary, because I wanted the family to represent affection," he said.
In the case of Dalí, "there is an egg called Renaissance, in which I have portrayed Joseph emerging from the egg and Mary protecting Jesus, who is below," he explained.
Baldomero León said that the initiative aims to "contribute a little more to the charm of the Old Town, which has been magnificently decorated for Christmas, and give it a very personal touch".
He also encouraged other establishments to join in, saying: "the more, the better".
"We would like the project to continue and to change the paintings according to the different seasons of the year," he said.
Juan Anhelo said that, apart from the artistic aspect of the initiative, it is positive from a commercial and tourism point of view because people stop to take photos of the windows and share images of Marbella on their social media accounts.
"Our town is beautiful, no matter where you look, and I want this to add to that," he said, and that is why he plans to continue making proposals to the town hall and to contribute his "grain of sand".