Emilia and Benito

This post is also available in: Spanish

My friends and I were wandering around the temporary exhibition at El Prado Museum, and in front of the portraits of prominent Spanish writers, I commented on the relationship between Emilia Pardo Bazán and Benito Pérez Galdós. My friends confessed that they did not know about that romance, which was not only based on true friendship and admiration between talented artists, but also a real passionated relationship.

According to the documental that can be watched there, the collection was made possible by an American philanthropist who fell in love with Hispanic culture during his early youth. With the passion and determination typical of a person who flollows a dream, the philanthropist gathered an important group of representative pieces of the Hispanic culture throughout History. During his life he built a close relationship with some of Spanish artists at that moment, and as a result some of the most important works by Sorolla, to name just one, are included in the famous collection.

Among other works by Sorolla, displayed on the walls were the portraits of his contemporary writers. However, what caught my attention the most were Emilia and Benito´s portraits. And, if my memory serves me correctly, Emilia Pardo Bazán was the only woman in such an illustrated group.

On no account can we say if the order in which the portraits are exhibited mirrors the friendship or enmity between the authors; neither do I remember if Emilia and Benito were put together. What would have been their desire?

To tell the truth, I don´t think it is an aspect that would bother them; they were used to hiding their love affair. It is said that if you want to read good erotic literature, you can try the letters handwritten by Emilia and sent out to Benito. The letters he answered were destroyed, so we don´t know if the tone used was the same or not.

I guess that, apart from the explicit messages expressed in the letters, they would have created a personal world between them, with codes understandable only by them. Who knows if they put words on the mouth of their characters with messages to his or her lover.  Going further, if they lived now and had a personal blog, would they communicate with secret messages hidden in the text which only them could understand?

Regarding secret relationships, do you know any other between historical characters? Can you guess some hidden relationships among those people surrounding you?

One thought on “Emilia and Benito

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