WINTER ART

With the winter around the corner, we make a brief review of how the artists got inspired by this season for their works. These dates are usually associated inevitably with the end of the year and the abundant parties, but the beginning of winter has traditionally been a time celebrated by many cultures as it gives way to a period of growth of days and a stage of preparation for the upcoming cycle. Even Greek mythology has a story for this phenomenon. Demeter, goddess of life and earth, separated from her daughter Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades and condemned to remain in the underworld, agreed to spend half of the year in her company and the other half on Olympus. Demeter was sad in the months when she was not with Persephone, which correspond to autumn and winter, leaving the earth neglected and withered, as opposed to spring and summer, time spent with her daughter.

Camille Pissarro, “Avenue de l’Opera. Efecto Nieve 1”

From the classicism, winter was approached with naturalistic perspective. This approach goes through the different artistic branches and has also served to feed the nineteenth-century narrative that represents this season in a raw way to underline the social differences that many characters of the literature of the time should pass through. As for the visual arts, authors opted for more realistic expressions, an exercise that often served as pictorial analysis on the depiction of the natural state, the changes of light, the reproduction of textures, volumes... in scenes dominated by snow in the rural environment.

Stepan Kolesnikoff, “On the way to market”, 1942

The winter, present with its hardest, implacable and almighty face, composes a mental image fueled to a great extent by the literature of the late nineteenth century as well as by the recurrent representation of realistic painting that began to pay less attention to elitist themes. The flight of pictorial productions of religious content or portraits by order gave way to a real concern for society, for the situation of the individual in their daily lives and the expression of an authentic and not always docile life that required, among other things, facing the winter in unfavourable circumstances. In this naturalistic trend, one sees the will to change the focus of attention of the aristocracy to the ordinary people, and to elaborate an egalitarian discourse that does not highlight the powerful over the weak but treats all individuals equally.

Jason Paul freerunning in Harbin, China © David Robinson

Our perception of this season has changed in recent decades. The linking of these dates with the grand celebrations make up an inseparable whole in which consumerism has absorbed the beginning of the season and almost goes unnoticed. The current representation of winter connects with snowy prints, red lights and smiles on the face. There is, in all this, a search for the ideal beauty, a compositional artifice that floods all our behaviours in society and reaches, even in a false way, the very strength of nature. Today the winter, after having surpassed in the arts the traditional pictorialism, is represented mainly through photography, a discipline that dares to recreate nature in a more wild and challenging. In fact, documentary photography is a very exploited line in our days, and the result is images of high visual impact.

 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.