Antonio Machado is one of the most emblematic poets of the Generation of 98 and it is in the province of Jaén where he forges the most important, fruitful and complete stage of his literary production.
Machado’s connection with Jaén is given by the deep pain caused by the death of his wife, Leonor, en event that deeply affects him. With the intention of alleviating the unfathomable emptiness of her death, he decides to leave Soria and seeks a silent and serene city, as he was longing for solitude, but that was also well connected with Madrid. This vacancy occurs in Baeza, a historic but self-absorbed city in frank decline and where the poet will resided for seven years, from November 1, 1912, date of taking possession of the French language chair, at the then called General and Technical Institute. until November 5, 1919, the date of his appointment as professor of French at an institute in Segovia.
Machado’s life in Baeza begins with placidity and slowness, strolling, observing, meditating and teaching at the Institute. Progresively, his attitude changes and he begins to participate more actively in the city’s chores, attending gatherings in the pharmacy of the pharmacist Adolfo Almazán, then collaborating in local newspapers, which would slowly mitigate the memory of Soria and his wife. In the end, the landscape of Baeza ends up taking over the poet and will give him the opportunity to dedicate practically exclusively to poetic creation, reading, study and philosophical reflection.
On this route you will be able to recreate the itinerary that would attract the attention of the poet on his walks or excursions to discover the sources of the Guadalquivir. Without a doubt, a solemn journey!
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Progressively, Antonio Machado got used to the rural environment of Baeza and its dazzling landscape outside the city. He enjoyed peri-urban walks that took him to the Cerro del Alcázar and over the remains of the old wall. One of the spaces most frequented by Antonio Machado, who walked it again and again in his meditation exercises. At one point along the walk, a plaque and a monument to Antonio Machado with a bust of Pablo Serrano remind us of the poet today. This sculpture was made to pay homage to the poet in 1966, although it did not arrive…
Machado let us learn that his hobbies were walking and reading. José Chamorro, in his work Antonio Machado in the Province of Jaén, attempts to reconstruct the poet’s itinerary on his walks: “the streets of Santo Domingo, San Pablo, San Andrés, Puerta de Úbeda, Arco del Barbudo, etc. .; highlighting “places as artistic and Spanish as the Plaza de la Catedral with its monumental fountain, erected with the majesty of a triumphal arch, a square as solemn as it is solitary with the moss of the old walls and the green grass between the slabs and stones of the pavement”.…
The International University of Andalusia (UNIA) is an institution to support the Andalusian science and technology system in postgraduate training, research, knowledge transfer, digitization, permanent training and internationalization. In homage to the poet, the UNIA headquarters in Baeza bears his name. The UNIA is located in two buildings: the Jabalquinto Palace, from the late 15th century and in the Renaissance style, and the Old Conciliar Seminary, a Baroque building nestled in the Plaza de Santa María, opposite the Cathedral -also Renaissance- and the High Town Hall -belonging to the Gothic-, both from the 17th century.
Machado arrived in Baeza to take possession of the French language chair called, at the time, General and Technical Institute, now the “Santísima Trinidad” Institute. CXXVIIIPOEM FOR A DAY RURAL MEDITATIONS (…) This humble teacher at a rural high school has always admired you, oh Rector of Salamanca. (…) The center is located in what was the Renaissance headquarters of the old University of Baeza, with buildings added over time. The poet occupied a classroom on the ground floor to teach French, which is still intact and can be visited as a classroom-museum. In the classroom-museum, furniture, belongings and documentation…
The professor’s salary did not allow Antonio Machado many expenses, so he soon had to leave the Hotel Comercio and look for rental accommodation. First, he rented a house to reside with his mother on Prado de la Cárcel Street (today Pasaje del Cardenal Benavides), but he found it ramshackle and cold, so he moved to another, although more modest, as he found it more comfortable and bright. An adjoining house on the same street, which was on the corner of Calle Gaspar Becerra, from where Machado could see the Plateresque façade of the old jail, today Baeza City Hall.…
Machado used to attend the gatherings that were held in the afternoons in the back room of Don Adolfo Almazán, gymnastics teacher at the institute and mayor of the city in 1914. The original building of the Almazán pharmacy was located on Calle de San Francisco, in front of the old Franciscan convent. The pharmacy was in operation until the seventies of the 20th century. Later the building where it was located was closed and then demolished. In these meetings, although the poet used to keep quiet and listen to others, they talked about politics, the country and the weather.…
Another meeting point for Machado was the old Casino de Artesanos, which has now disappeared. This casino witnessed some of the most unique episodes of Machado’s passage through Baeza and it is here where, one evening, he met a young Federico García Lorca who was still more of a musician than a writer. One of these episodes occurred as soon as he arrived in this city and went to introduce himself to the director of the institute at his home. Upon arrival, they told him that he was in “agony” and Machado replied: “I am deeply sorry”; until they clarify…
The Casino de Señores, or New Casino, was an important meeting point for Machado. The casino is still located in the same historic building on Calle de San Pablo. In his hall of mirrors, the poet sometimes prolonged his gatherings and upon request, you can see the document where the poet appears as the first passing member of the casino. A beautiful seated sculpture of the poet has been placed next to the facade of the building, made by the sculptor Antonio Pérez Almahano in 2009.
During the first two years of his stay in Baeza, Antonio Machado lived alone, still without his mother, Mrs. Ana Ruiz, in the now vanished Hotel Comercio, the only inn in the entire city, located on Calle San Pablo. Today the hotel is converted into flats and only its facade is preserved. Until its transformation, the room was preserved as it was occupied by the poet, number 15 on the first floor, whose balcony overlooked the front of the Palacio de los Salcedo and had a view to the mountains of Magina to the west.
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Antonio Machado visited the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Tíscar, Patron Saint of Quesada, on excursions to the springs of the Guadalquivir. The Sanctuary is located fourteen kilometers from the town, at the foot of the Peña Negra, with access through a winding mountain road. The Sanctuary has been a pilgrimage site for centuries (the current building that houses the Sanctuary was rebuilt throughout the 20th century on the remains of a primitive medieval hermitage). Inside the temple we will find the image of the Virgin of Tíscar, carved by the sculptor Jacinto Higueras. In recent years the City Council…
In a recently built park on the way to the port of Tíscar, the City Council of Quesada has honored Antonio Machado with some ceramics where fragments of the poem Apuntes para una geografía emotional de España are reproduced. IN THE MANNER OF JUAN DE MAIRENA NOTES FOR AN EMOTIVE GEOGRAPHY OF SPAIN VIn Alicún they sing: “If the moon is rising, better under the olive trees than in the esparto grass.” VI And in the Sierra de Quesada: “I am living in mortal sin: I ought not to love you; therefore I love you more.”
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