1 Jan
15 Mar

Organized by: Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors - AEPE, Diputación Provincial de Toledo

In 2019 there will be the commemoration of the 990th anniversary of the birth of the Toledan Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Yaḥyā al-Naqqāsh al-Zarqālī, latinized as Azarquiel, one of the most important Hispano-Arab astrologers and geographers whose fame and influence spread throughout Europe until the sixteenth century.
Adapted the astronomical tables until then in use to the coordinates of Toledo, becoming known as "Tables Toledo". It can be said that Azarquiel turned Toledo into the medieval Greenwich, whose zero meridian coincided with that of the capital of Almamún.
He also invented the azafea, an instrument of navigation derived from the astrolabe that does not depend on the latitude of the observer and allows orientation in any place in the world, including the seas and oceans.
Of all the inventions and discoveries that opened the era of great explorations and oceanic empires, probably the azafea is the most important. Without a saffron, Columbus would never have arrived in America, nor could Magellan and Elcano have taken the first round of the world.
Without being a sailor, Azarquiel correctly recalculated the size of the Mediterranean Sea and the movement of terrestrial aphelion, he devoted himself to cataloging stars and planets with great precision and created the first almanac (al-manakh); besides determining on what exact day the months of various civilizations began, as well as the position of the planets at any day and time of the year, it predicted the eclipses of sun and moon during the following years.
The almanac of Azarquiel is the foundation of the Tables of Toledo and the Tablas Alfonsinas, and was translated into Latin by Gerardo de Cremona many decades after the death of the illustrious astronomer. Four hundred years later, Copernicus would quote him as being in debt to him. This was his legacy to all humanity.
The Toledo astronomer built a famous clepsydra on the banks of the Tagus, which took as a model a clock that was said to have existed in the Indian city of Arin, equipped with an automaton that indicated the hours of the day by means of arms or rods.
The clepsydra that Azarquiel designed also indicated the hours of the night and the phases of the Moon. Ingenuity reached a great celebrity in its time and was in operation until half a century after the capture of Toledo.
Azarquiel is considered one of the most important Spanish astronomers and the axis of European medieval science until Copernicus and Kepler, for whose merit the International Astronomical Union gave its name to one of the lunar craters, along with another famous Toledano, Alfonso X El Wise.

The nocturne is a pictorial genre consisting of the representation of scenes or landscapes set in the night.
This type of paintings has been given practically in all the periods and styles of art, although its practice had the difficulty of its true representation because of the absence of light, so in many occasions it was necessary to resort to chiaroscuro and the effects luminics from artificial light, while natural light must come from the moon or stars.
For artificial light they used to use candles, firecrackers, lamps, lamps, fireworks or similar elements, while in more recent times they appear gas or electric lights, neon or those produced by car headlights and the like. These light bulbs can be direct or indirect, can appear in the picture or illuminate the scene from outside.
The chromatic range of these "nocturnes" is usually cold.
The night has always posed a challenge to the painters, and even more to the sculptors, who questioned the possibilities of the dark until it became a convincing visual theme and officially recognized by critics and the public.
Associated in the past with negative images, such as death and danger, its representation has evolved in the history of painting and sculpture in an attempt to diminish these terrors, embellishing the darkness with a tranquilizing and enigmatic light.
Certain artistic styles have especially developed this type of scenes, such as Baroque tenebrism. It is essential to refer to some of the most famous nocturnes, such as: La ronda de noche (1642), by Rembrandt; On May 3 in Madrid (1813-1814), by Francisco de Goya; or Starry Night on the Rhone (1888), by Vincent van Gogh. Some authors have felt a special predilection for this type of works, like James Abbott, McNeill, Whistler or Frederic Remington.
It was also a resource widely used by American impressionists and realists, such as John Henry Twachtman, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Frank Tenney Johnson and Edward Hopper.
The Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors and the Diputación de Toledo want to combine this technique of "nocturnal", so appropriate to the character we commemorate, with the celebration and recognition of a universal toledano, through the convocation of a sample of plastic arts that will have place in the city of Toledo, in the San Clemente Cultural Center, belonging to the Provincial Council of Toledo. To return to Toledo, since the centenary entity has been present in multiple occasions in the capital of La Mancha, means to contribute new and spectacular proposals and visions, always different, from the world of plastic arts.
Fleeing the manidas, by repeated though not always magnificent and imposing, views of the city, so identifying their idiosyncrasies, we want to focus on their skies, and what that same sky meant for Europe, for the whole world is almost 990 years
The same sky of Toledo that inspired the impressive work of Azarquiel, will be the protagonist of a sample that is also innovative and will create much expectation, since with this theme, there have been exhibitions in Europe for decades. These "nocturnes" will seek and pursue to make the imagination of the spectator work so that they can read and enjoy the works, involving the visitors of the creation itself, of its meaning, of the concept that the plastic of this genre has, experiencing the sensations that provoke the "nocturnes" and forge their own conclusions.
All this way of seeing the sky so different from what we are used to, is what gives this exhibition a totally contemporary and innovative art, which besides using the traditional artistic techniques for its creation, uses them to bring ideas to the deeper viewer and enhance their feelings of the Toledo sky.

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