Félix Arranz Pinto
Félix Arranz Pinto, self-taught artist and creator of the Parque Mudéjar in Olmedo, Spain, died on April 2, 2020 from the coronavirus, only three days after laying down his tools and entering the hospital. He was 86 years old.
photo © Jo Farb Hernández
Spain’s region of Castilla y León, the heart of the kingdom of Old Castile, retains numerous examples of Mudéjar architecture, a unique style characterised by a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic elements with Islamic designs, which flourished during the 780-year period of Arab control over the Iberian Peninsula. When Spain was “reconquered” in 1492, the victorious Christian armies preserved many of these significant Muslim palaces, religious sites, and noble homes, and repossessed them for their own uses. In recent decades, several have been honoured with UNESCO World Heritage status.
In 1999, Arranz, long an admirer of this style, decided to create a park that would replicate miniature examples of Castilla y León’s Mudéjar architecture. Over the next decade, after travelling to each site and taking careful measurements, he experimented until he successfully developed ways to copy the Middle Age designs and building techniques, and he ultimately completed 19 castles, houses, portals, and places of worship at scales of 1:6, 1:8 and 1:22. His intention was to recall the memory of a more tolerant age, when various cultures lived and worked together in relative harmony. The Parque Mudéjar is now supported by the City of Olmedo.
by Jo Farb Hernández