Early accounts of the early European wanderings of the gypsies tend to have them as penitent and/or persecuted Egyptian Christians (Borrow, The Zincali, recapitulates the principal meme), and I believe without having investigated in the slightest that painters of the High Renaissance gratefully used these recent arrivals in their towns as bit part players in their depictions of the Flight into Egypt and suchlike.
The pre-C20th stereotype of gypsies was of avaricious hypocrites, uninterested the great religious theatre beyond their church door begging pitches, but Spanish gypsies of course throng the halls of American evangelical sects, you do meet the odd Romanian gypsy wandering through Barcelona cathedral and Barbastro has a gypsy saint, El Pelé, murdered by anarchists at the beginning of the Civil War. Spain’s presentation of itself to the world rests to a considerable degree on its invention by American, British and French writers in the early- to mid-19th century, and black American culture feeds off white creations of blackness, so it would be amusing to find that the gypsy lady I encountered in Santa Maria dei Servi in Bologna the other day admiring the stupendous Montorsoli Annunciation was refining her lunar body curve rather than figuring out where a crowbar could be brought to bear.
This idea that gypsies were used as subjects in Biblical painting was certainly popular among 19th century Romantics–Titian’s Virgin and Child became the Gypsy Madonna then, and Mrs Jameson has a wonderful explanation in Legends of the Madonna as represented in the fine arts of a Rest on the Flight into Egypt attributed to Giorgione. The Provençal ballad with which Mrs J wraps up, like the Provençal carol I blogged years ago, belongs to the boumian genre of Provençal popular culture, with its caganer-cognate nativity scene Bohemian, to which I’ll return shortly.
- A revolutionary Balkan gypsy begging flyer
The gypsy beggars and backing-track musos who work the Barcelona local train service systematically and efficiently are an example to Spanish
- Run like a gypsy
With Imanol Arias as El Lute, retired generaliser George Borrow, and walking and running style as social differentiators.
- Phoney Spanish gypsy dancers at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York?
The Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901 is now remembered mainly for the assassination of McKinley by a Polish-American anarchist follower
- Spanish RC church in unexpected contribution to Romanian Orthodox dress code?
Plus a query re Balkan gypsy Pentecostalism.
- Eye and Hand of Fatima on gypsy door in Perpignan
Efforts have been made to erase a sticker of a member of the Incredible Hulk clan. Superimposed on the wooden cross