'Battery start' by José Cusachs y Cusachs

‘Battery start’ by José Cusachs y Cusachs

How many different nuances are in the same work of art. Everyone knows that no one sees the same thing when looking at a painting. Sometimes while visiting a museum, we see someone standing in front of a painting and wonder what they’re looking at, or just your companion saying, look at this! and you think, “I didn’t realize that.” Much of it directly depends on the visitor’s education, but it’s also looking at what we might call ‘professional distortion’, what catches your attention most because of your job, your tastes, or your concerns.

An example is the presence of Music represented by the order trumpet, a typical military figure shown in some paintings in the Army Museum. Such is the case with José Cusachs’ painting ‘Salida en batería’. In the center of the composition, the painting shows Captain Rodríguez de Rivas on horseback, with a lieutenant to his right, sword raised behind his back, with the trumpet of orders to his left. trumpet on his back and riding.

In this musician figure, the elements of his representation stand out. This trumpet1 carries its trumpet on its back, face down, and although initially placed in a diagonal position, to the right and under the seat, we can take it out of its stance seconds before we put our foot in the stirrup. with his right hand he pulled the tool back so that it wouldn’t disturb him when he got on the horse. The author places particular emphasis on the red cord tangle within the ladder of unity, identifying him as ‘El corneta’ in front of the other depiction he shows before him. You might want to emphasize that this is ‘Turuta’. The color of his trench coats and pads is also different, we know that he is a soldier, the information that the artist gave us when he showed us the red braid on the cuff of his arm where he was holding the saddle.

As a soldier he had to learn to use weapons and therefore carry them in battle, but he carries his sword in the scabbard and on horseback. In this case, his main weapon as a musician is the cornet, and therefore he takes care of and protects him while riding a horse. Once mounted, he will follow the line leader’s orders to his troops. The way to do this would be to translate that verbal order into his language, the music and the touch of his trumpet could be ‘A Trote’ and maybe even ‘A Galope’ later on. If we ask ourselves why the soldier-musician continues to ride his horse, it may be because he must play ‘A caballo’ first and therefore must do it last. Next, he must always astride a few steps behind the queue leader and, if necessary, convey orders to the rest of the battery with the sound of his instrument.

An officer’s gaze may focus on the figure of the captain or lieutenant, perhaps others highlighting the features or furs of horses such as Captain Chestnut, Lieutenant Sorrel or Cornet Gray; The latter was not by chance, for the choice of the horse served to determine, at a glance, whether the line leader needed his trumpet to convey a command with the sound of his instrument.

A musician, especially on this day, will emphasize the character who always goes a few steps behind, to the left of the leader of the formation and without losing sight of him. In Cusachs’ other works, such as ‘Cavalry Assault’, the trumpet is clearly visible in his right hand or in the painting ‘General Arsenio Martínez Campos examining the 14th Light Artillery Regiment’ (now in the Museo Del Army). where it is not seen… it is assumed.


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