Are we Mancha?
…for many painters Campo de Montiel is a symphony of light and colour, with varying shades and always bright tones, changing according to the time of the day by that sky so clear, blue, and at the same time so particular
On Unamuno’s opinion la Mancha is a petrified sea full of sky. On Azorín’s opinion it is an untamed countryside, wild and never broken, a gloominess, a hardness. On Galdos’ opinion it is a hard and desolated land, too. For Washington Irving it draws ones attention and is interesting for its aridity and immensity. Teofilo Gautier tells us that it is the epitome of the aridity and desolation, everything is the colour of cork and pumice stone. We already knew that it is a semi desert steppe.
However for many painters Campo de Montiel is a symphony of light and colour, with varying shades and always bright tones, changing according to the time of the day by that sky so clear, blue, and at the same time so particular.
I think that if the above mentioned descriptions cannot include this palette of colours that are shown in these photographs, therefore we should not include Campo de Montiel in La Mancha.
Cervantes names his hero Don Quixote de La Mancha, and he mentions Campo de Montiel up to five times as the setting of his adventures. And we should wonder, what did Cervantes see to do so? Its aridity, its colours, its crossroads, its peoples?. Maybe all this, because it was the best frame for his masterpiece; the setting that better places the hapless adventures in a connected and logic way.
Justiniano Rodríguez Castillo