Thursday, July 24, 2014


(Pedro Santillana Cruzado)
November 9, 1968 - July 22, 2014

As Aubrey Beardsley said of himself, Pedro Palanca was nothing if he wasn't grotesque.  One may recall the origin of the term grotesque in the strange paintings (with figures that combined elements of the human with those of flora and fauna in metamorphoses far beyond those of Actaeon, Narcissus or Daphne) discovered beneath the Esquiline Hill in what at first was believed to be a grotto but was in fact the remains of Nero's great palace, the Domus Aurea.  These frescoes by Famulus (or possibly Fabulus) served as the models for the decorations Raphael painted in the reception rooms for the Pope's private quarters, but I think that the man for whom the originals were painted (that great lover of Roman low life as well as the highest refinements of taste,) Lucius Ahenobarbus, would have highly approved and truly enjoyed the sort of work Pedro did in such disquieting abundance.  Nero loved perversity and Pedro was nothing if not perverse.  One doesn't need to share Pedro's love of men's feet in order to appreciate the intensity of that adoration and the very humorous and beautiful work it drew from him.



I know that Pedro was deeply saddened of late by the death of his long time long distance lover Chris "Supermarky" Maher.  At one point he seemed to find something very suspicious in his friend's sudden death and the seeming haste in disposing of his remains.  So far I don't know the exact circumstances of Pedro's death, though I would assume that it was a result of liver failure due to the AIDS medication he took.  I don't know if his concerns in regards to Chris's death were ever resolved.  I would be interested to know.  The majority of the drawings that I chose for this post were made within the last two years.  Though I was aware that Pedro was ill, I didn't recognize just how severely his condition had deteriorated.  Though I wasn't completely surprised by his death, I wasn't at all expecting it any time soon.  I find it troubling, but I also find that it is better to be troubled by such friends and their lives and deaths than not to have made these connections.  This last drawing is a portrait Pedro made of his great love, Chris, as Sebastiane.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for making this post. I'm working to make sure the people around me are aware of his passing. It's terrible news to hear.