Friday, February 12, 2016

The Capitulation of Granada

Title: La Rendición de Granada (The Surrender of Granada)
Artist: Francisco Pradilla Ortiz
Date: 1882

The Capitulation of Granada by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz (1882) from the Museo del Prado, depicts the Sultan Mohammed XII surrendering the city of Granada to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. Granada had been the last outpost of Moorish control in Spain. The surrender of Granada meant the end to an 800 year presence of Muslims in Spain  (bonhams). Hungry for power, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabell sought to rid Spain of all Muslims in order to create a unified Spain. Spain, after having captured Granada was now unified and could focus on its goal of creating a large empire. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella believed Spain could be the next greatest world power and used their military strength and wealth to gain power over many peoples. The eradication of Muslims in Spain was a precursor to how the Spanish would treat the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The King and Queen are shown on their horses as they sit tall and proud after having won Granada back from the Moors. Only the Muslim leader, Sultan Mohammed XII sits atop a horse next to his counsel. The Spanish are depicted as having large numbers whereas the Sultan and his counsel are depicted in small numbers. This could have been purposefully done by the artist in order to highlight the strength and grandeur which Spain had at the time. Throughout Spanish history, Spanish Christians had warred with the Muslims that had settled in Spain. By depicting the Moors in small numbers it further highlights their lack of military skill and incompetency. 

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