José Gutiérrez Solana, The End of the World, c.1932

Solana took a dark view of the world and humans; so much so that the word ‘Solanesque’ has been coined to mean ‘the pessimistic view of existence.’ This painting shows just that: the end of the world brought on by the wickedness of humankind. Death is represented by the skeletons who kill off humans in a frenzy of activity. Some strike the living down with bones; others carry humans away against their will. Solana especially hated the sins of lust and greed, represented here by the nude woman and the miser clutching his moneybags. On a cliff edge we see a horse wagon overturned with the dead passengers spilling out. In the sea beyond all ships are being wrecked in the stormy waters and the bodies and debris pile up on the beach.

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