Did you know that it is 90 years since the arrival of Leopoldo Torres Balbás as the architect-conservator of the Alhambra...

05/04/2013

Almost 90 years have gone by but his memory lingers on in the Alhambra. It was on 14th April 1923 that Leopoldo Torres Balbás arrived in Granada to take charge of the conservation of the Alhambra, a post he would continue to hold until 1936. Precursor of scientific restoration, to a large extent the Alhambra we know today is his doing. In his 13 years in charge of the Monument he carried out extensive restoration work on different parts of the Alhambra such as the Palace of the Lions, the Mexuar, the Court of the Lions and the Court of the Myrtles, and he restructured the Palace of El Partal, among many other important projects.

During his time at the Alhambra he set down perhaps the most beautiful, most valuable pages that have ever been written about the Monument, which have today become essential training and reference manuals. Nobody has tackled the Alhambra with the same polytechnical, scientific, integrated and all-encompassing approach as Torres Balbás, probably because he is one of the most genuine representatives of what is now considered as the new Golden Age of Spanish culture in the first third of the 20th Century, in which a generation of creative minds appeared, born out of the ashes of the disaster of 1898.

He defined himself as a modest man who claimed always to defend the truth. In his diary he left us various insights into his outlook on life. Here is one: "I seek depth, profoundness in everything. My life has always been about this: an attempt to leave as permanent a mark as possible on my son, above all, on my students and friends, on the old buildings for which I have been responsible, on Spanish archaeology. I speak only of my intentions, not of what I have achieved, which I know well to be very little.”

You can visit the exhibition entitled “Leopoldo Torres Balbás and Scientific Restoration” in the Chapel and the Crypt of the Palace of Charles V until 9th June.