The Giralda, Seville

David Roberts British, Scottish

Not on view

Roberts created this moody image of a Seville landmark while visiting the city in 1833. Built as a minaret by the Moors, the structure became the cathedral bell tower after Christians retook the city in 1248, and the name derives from the crowning weathervane, or giraldillo. Using watercolor over graphite, the artist added touches of white to suggest sunlight dancing off masonry. In this view from the north, the artist makes the top and bottom of the façade equal in width—the resulting lack of vertical recession allowed accurately rendered surface ornament. Studying monuments of Islamic architecture in Spain may have encouraged Roberts’s trip to Egypt and the Holy Land in 1838.

The Giralda, Seville, David Roberts (British, Stockbridge, Scotland 1796–1864 London), Watercolor and gouache (bodycolor) over graphite on blue-gray paper

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