Visual Propaganda, Exhibitions, and the Spanish Civil War is a history of art during wartime that analyzes images in various media that circulated widely and were encountered daily by Spaniards on city walls, in print, and in exhibitions. Tangible elements of the nation’s past”monuments, cultural property, and art-historical icons”were displayed in temporary exhibitions and museums, as well as reproduced on posters and in print media, to rally the population, define national identity, and reinvent distant and recent history. Artists, political-party propagandists, and government administrators believed that images on the street, in print, and in exhibitions would create a community of viewers, brought together during the staging of public exhibitions to understand their own roles as Spaniards. This book draws on extensive archival research, brings to light unpublished documents, and examines visual propaganda, exhibitions, and texts unavailable in English. It engages with questions of national self-definition and historical memory at their intersections with the fine arts, visual culture, exhibition history, tourism, and propaganda during the Spanish Civil War and immediate post-war period, as well as contemporary responses to the contested legacy of the Spanish Civil War. It will be of interest to scholars in art history, visual and cultural history, history, and museum studies.
'Miriam M. Basilio's research has the merit of analyzing Franco's policies which are little known when compared with the programmes promoted in the Republican period, and sheds light on certain topics of debate (including the oeuvre of Francisco de Goya, for example), around which the strategies of both parties converge with the aim of appropriating them for themselves.' Critique d'Art
'… Basilio is an interpreter of remarkable detail when it comes to the visual image. The strength of this book is in its thoroughness and in Basilio’s transmission of a visual historical record that has not as yet been widely available.' Curator: The Museum Journal
'This book will be useful for graduate students either in art history, history of the media, museum studies, war studies, or even for open-minded scholars in political science (especially those with an interest in the definitions/mutations of nation). Basilio clearly appears to be comfortable in all of these domains. Even for students unfamiliar with the rich history of Spain, this work remains accessible and aptly contextualized.' Modernism/Modernity
'En resumidas cuentas, Visual Propaganda… constituye una obra imprescindible para comprender el uso, manipulación e interpretación de las imágenes y la propaganda durante la Guerra Civil y el primer franquismo como elemento socializador y de adoctrinamiento a las órdenes de las élites intelectuales y políticas del país. Basilio, al igual que Christoph Kivelitz o los historiadores galos Dominique Rossignol y Denis Peschanski1, con sus libros sobre las exposiciones de propaganda en el Tercer Reich2 y la Francia de Vichy respectivamente, realiza una contribución enorme al conocimiento de las culturas de guerra en el siglo XX.' Hispania Nova: Revista de Historia Contemporánea
'Basilio’s analytical perspective is primarily art historical. She presents original and sophisticated arguments concerning the aesthetic and symbolic dimensions of visual propaganda, and her expositions of the political implications of curatorial strategies are lucid and impressive. The end result is … a fascinating study showing how art is a central and contested means by which we formulate and communicate a sense of collective identity and history.' The Journal of Modern History
'This thorough and thought-provoking book is an important contribution to the debate about visual representation and its efficacy in the context of war, not only in Spain, but in Europe during the violent first half of the twentieth century.' Print Quarterly
'Miriam M. Basilio’s excellent monograph provides an in-depth study of images that were in visual circulation both during and immediately after the conflict that tore Spain apart. …This book is a success. Rigorously researched and argued, Visual Propaganda, Exhibitions, and the Spanish Civil War deserves to be read by scholars across the board. It is accessible and lucid and will broaden the knowledge of specialists and non-experts alike.' CAA Reviews
Contents: Introduction: creating, enacting, and recuperating historical memories; Figures of the Republic, the nation, and the Spanish art-historical tradition; The culture of exhibitions: propaganda, painting, and cultural patrimony; Genealogies for a new Spain: nationalist territory, 1936-40; Staging national Spain: exhibitions and cultural patrimony 1936-40; Recuperating historical memory: contemporary art and museums; Selected bibliography; Index.