Hermenegildo Lanz González
BirthSeville, Spain (1893)
DeathGranada, Spain (1949)
Spanish artist, painter, designer, photographer and art teacher at the Escuela Normal for teacher training in Granada. He was an active participant in the city’s cultural life, founding in 1925 the Círculo Científico y Literario (Scientific and Literary Circle) and serving as its president.
On January 6, 1923, Lanz participated in the direct staging of Federico García Lorca‘s show performed in his family home in Granada, with the musical part entrusted to Manuel de Falla. Lanz, himself, designed the sets and puppets, basing his work on cristobitas or cristobalitas, the Andalusian cousins of Punch and Polichinelle. The plays featured on this occasion included the Auto de los Reyes Magos (Mystery of the Magi, an anonymous Castillian work from the 13th century), Los Dos Habladores (The Two Chatterboxes), a one-act play attributed at that time to Cervantes, and La Niña que riega albahaca y el príncipe preguntón (The Girl Who Waters the Basil and the Inquisitive Prince), an Andalusian folk tale adapted for the stage by García Lorca.
Subsequently, Lanz contributed to making the puppets and sets for Manuel de Falla’s El retablo de maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show, 1923). He also designed the sets, staging, and figures for El gran teatro del mundo (The Great Theatre of the World) by Pedro Calderón, which was performed at the Alhambra during Corpus Christi in 1927. He did the same for Lope de Vega’s La Moza del Cántaro (The Girl with a Pitcher) and La Vuelta de Egypto (The Return from Egypt), performed at the Universidad de Granada (University of Granada) in 1935 to mark the three hundredth anniversary of the writer’s death.
The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War found Lanz working with the theatre troupe, La Carreta, composed of students from the Federación Universitaria Democrática Española (Spanish Democratic University Federation). Despite their efforts to avoid political parties, many of Lanz’s friends were executed after the military uprising, García Lorca being the first. Lanz was arrested, questioned and removed from office during the conflict. In 1938, he was relegated to a position initially in Logroño before returning to Granada. Except for the final years of his life, during which he wrote for the magazine La Estafeta Literaria, these vicissitudes kept him away from artistic activity.