A night of Spanish masterpieces

Fans of 19th and 20th century artwork are being offered a rare opportunity by the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands to view work by the famed Spanish masters Francisco Goya and Salvador Dali. Further enhancing the exhibit are visual interpretations of the masters’ works by 16 local artists. 

The artworks are in the exhibition “Metamorphoses,” which runs through Aug. 30. On June 13 from 5 to 9 p.m., the public is invited to a free preview of the exhibit and the screening of two documentary films about the Spanish masters. 

Goya and Dali  

“Metamorphoses” consists of a set of original 18th century prints from the “Los Caprichos” series by Goya, a romantic painter and print maker considered the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. More commonly known for his moving and often disturbing oils on canvas, Goya was also considered one of the most talented etchers of his time. The “Los Caprichos” series is a set of 80 engravings and aquatints of a satirical nature that depict a wide variety of subjects, including the clergy, prostitutes and witches.  

A painter to the Spanish Court, Goya gave 50 years of service to the Crown and served three successive kings. Through his works he was both a commentator and chronicler of his era. 

Goya’s “Los Caprichos” prints are accompanied by a set of hand-colored and hand-signed etchings by Dali, considered one of the most famous surrealist painters of all time.  

Dali revisited Goya’s famous series in 1977, transforming it into a colorful surrealist masterpiece comprising 80 signed and limited numbered prints.  

These prints are displayed in the center of the gallery’s exhibition hall, and reproductions of the Dali originals are hung alongside each genuine Goya piece.  

To complement this unique coupling of work, the gallery has invited 16 local artists to reinterpret Goya’s series, as Dali did before them. The participating artists are Shane Acquart, Alejandro Angel, Wray Banker, David Bridgeman, Debbie Chase van der Bol, Kaitlyn Elphinstone, Guy Harvey, Bendel Hydes, Greg Lipton, Chris Mann, Joanne Sibley, Gordon Solomon, Nasaria Suckoo Chollette, Monte Lee Thornton, Avril Ward and Gabrielle Wheaton.  

These local artists’ works are on display alongside the masters’ prints.  

“The exhibition features a wonderful blend of classical, modern and contemporary artwork, while also providing an excellent forum for discussion and illustrating the tremendous evolution of artistic styles and techniques over the last 300 years,” curator Eme Paschalides said in a press release. “This artistic progression is contrasted with the realization that many of the ills of society have remained the same.”

  Artist Avril Ward engages with the works on display at the National Gallery.

Documentary films  

“Goya: Crazy Like a Genius”  

5:30 p.m. 

Written and presented by art critic Robert Hughes, this film explores the world of Goya, charting his achievements as a court painter, satirist and war reporter, as well as a topographer of the inner self – of madness, fear and despair. It offers a detailed visual and intellectual analysis of Goya’s masterpieces, including “Witches in the Air,” “The Third of May” and “The Dream of Reason.” Hughes professes himself incapable of summing up Goya’s achievements neatly but concludes that “to meet Goya is still to meet ourselves.” 


“Dali: The Great Spanish Painter and Self-Styled Genius”  

7:30 p.m.  

This major critical film biography of Dali presents his entire body of work in the context of his extraordinary life and international career. It has been constructed through a combination of specially shot location footage, archive film, feature film material, rostrum filming of Dali’s paintings and interviews with Dali’s friends and colleagues. The narration has been drawn from the artist’s own writings, principally “My Secret Life” and “The Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dali,” as well as from other critical writings.  

The films will be shown in the National Gallery Auditorium. Seating is on a first-come first-served basis. 


Local artist Avril Ward’s interpretation, ‘Kingdom Divided No. 62’