Autorretrato (Self-Portrait)

Alfonso Ponce de León

Malaga, Spain, 1906 - Madrid, Spain, 1936
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    160 x 190 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 

This painting by Alfonso Ponce de León is actually a prophetic self-portrait, in which the artist seems to foresee his own imminent and tragic death in 1936, the same year he painted the picture.
The scene, which leans more towards Magic Realism than Surrealism, does however possess connotations of oneiric vision, a feeling which a number of factors contribute to: the strange position of the body, the limbs disappearing between the headlamps and the car’s bodywork, the light illuminating the victim, which cannot be coming from the headlamps, and, above all, the strange way that the (possibly lifeless) character is pointing at his forehead with a bloodied forefinger. The powerful spotlight, defining shapes and casting mysterious shadows, is also one of the most disconcerting elements, lending the whole painting an almost ghostlike quality. The lush foliage sprouting out of the right-hand side, reminiscent of the thick vegetation of Rousseau “Le Douanier”, is another element the viewer finds disturbing.

Paloma Esteban Leal