* Nicola Clark - U.K.
"I was absolutely overwhelmed with this art we saw today in Karla's class. The still life particularly I found beautiful and lifelike. The history behind these paintings was enlightening and very interesting.
I learn so much from these lectures, very fulfilling. Karla's incredible depth of knowledge and exciting teaching style makes the whole experience very memorable .
I Absolutely recommend her classes."
* Floradiane Santiago - Jávea
"Karla's lecture on 17th century Spanish baroque profane painting opened my eyes on painters known for their religious art (Velazquez, Ribera...).
We learned about other themes developed at the time: "everyday" life, poor children living in poverty because of the plague, still-life paintings popular with the "tourists" of the time.
A combination of art and history makes for an interesting and informative lecture. Bravo Karla."
* Jo Jous, Denia
"It is timely indeed that Karla should write a book re-evaluating the role of dogs in Spanish art and culture. This current Covid lockdown has led to many of us deciding that we need dogs in our lives for companionship and for exercise. Yet again, the role of the dog in our society is being looked at afresh.
Karla’s book traces how the symbiotic relationship between human and dog goes back at least to Neolithic times. There is much evidence such as the careful and dignified burial of owner and dog together in many ancient cultures to suggest that dogs were, as Karla observes, seen as part wild, part human and part divine.
Some ancients saw dogs as having healing powers leading to dogs being laid on to the bodies of sick people or to lick wounds.
Small dogs were bred to be companions to children whereas 90kg mastiffs in armour performed a valuable role in battle. The Romans at least were not averse to dog sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.
In many ways Karla demonstrates that dogs have always been more than just working animals.
As artists discovered painting on canvas dogs were co-opted into a story telling role. In a world without television or radio (let alone the internet) paintings were there to both entertain and inform.
In Velasquez’s painting of Jacob being told of the death at the hands of wolves of Joseph, his favourite son, it is a small dog barking at the bottom of the painting that reminds us that Joseph’s brothers are lying about the fate of Joseph. In one of Velasquez’s court paintings, we see him portraying very sweetly Felipe IV’s young son, Prince Felipe Prospero. In the painting Velasquez has placed a small spaniel next to the child on a throne-like chair. The Prince was very sickly and died at the age of four. Was Velasquez signalling that the dog had more chance of acceding to the throne than his little master?
Karla’s book is full of such insights.
We learn how small dogs were used to complete the nuclear family in a Catholic propaganda campaign where artists were charged with tackling licentious behaviour in the late 1600s.
Dogs often appear as symbols of fidelity in paintings celebrating a wedding. We also see how the treatment by artists of hunting dogs could send a message of either the success of Kings in war or, with the more enlightened views of Goya, remind us we were to some extent slaves to circumstances.
After reading Karla’s book you will look again at the dog in any painting and ponder on what he is there to tell us about his owner and ultimately about ourselves."
* Chris Tucker, Javea
Book Review: Spanish Dogs by Karla Ingleton Darocas
Published 21st January 2021 | By Sandra Piddock
Karla Ingleton Darocas is based in Benitachell on Spain’s Costa Blanca. On her website, SpainLifestyle.com, she describes herself as:
An educator with a passion to inspire and facilitate a lust to learn.
Karla has a BA Hons, and is also a photographer, author and Spanish Fine Arts Historian. She’s also a self-confessed dog lover, with two rescue dogs, Venus and Mars.
Her latest book, Spanish Dogs: The Story of Dogs in Spanish History, Culture and the Arts, is a testament to Karla’s love of dogs, the arts, and all things connected to her adopted homeland, Spain.
"It is because Karla cares so much that she was so worried about how her lectures would work in the new virtual environment - well she needn't have. Her Sacred Baroque lecture delivered over Zoom was just as engaging and thought-provoking as any other I have attended.
In fact, Karla made good use of the technology by going close up on features of the paintings so we could see and learn more about what some of the symbols and icons meant. We otherwise might have missed these details. She also put paintings side by side so we could compare them and see how different artists tackled the exact same subject, showing us how artists evolved in terms of their skill and to reflect changing trends.
As always, we saw history through the eyes of the artists and given that many artists she covered were painting at the time of their own pandemic hundreds of years ago - this had a particular piquancy.
Highly recommended and I can't wait for the next one."
* Christine Wood - Javea
"As usual, Karla combines history, to explain the context of the times, and the pictorial techniques, to help us better "read" a painting. She talks about the painters' lives, their travels, motivations and influences.
Altogether, this makes for a very interesting and informative lecture. In this case, the evolution of Spanish baroque religious painting.
I am looking forward to the next lecture on Spanish baroque profane painting.
Karla is very knowledgeable in Spanish culture and history.
I recommend Karla Darocas teachings"
* Jo Jouas, Denia
"Well, I must admit that I have never given any though to the representation of dogs in art. As the owner of two Spanish dogs, I will now.
From prehistoric through to the 20th century, Karla guides us in interpreting the art, and also engages us to understand better the roles that dogs played in daily life.
Karla writes in an engaging fashion, and brings the subject to life very well. I often judge people based on how they treat their animals; now I’ll be both noticing, and interpreting the dogs I see in art.
I always enjoy the opportunity to increase my appreciation and understanding of art, and this book has opened a new window for me to look through."
Chris Newkirk * Las Peñitas, Nicaragua
"There are tons of books on "Dogs", so what makes Karla's book stand out? I would even say, what makes it exceptional?
It is the first book on dogs in Spanish history and culture. How she chooses to present them appeals to me greatly - through artifacts and Spanish Art.
Her time period spans from the time of the Neanderthals to modern times. She speaks of the working dog, the dogs of war, and lapdogs. Her illustrations go from religious art to court paintings. We discover famous painters and their relation to dogs (from Goya to Picasso).
Her book is very detailed.
What makes it interesting to read are the many stories and anecdotes that accompany the information. With her artistic background, Karla leads us into a painting, draws our attention to something we would not necessarily see by ourselves, and explains the "why and how".
I strongly recommend Karla's book for those who love dogs, Spanish history and culture, and/or Spanish art. Her writing style is easy to follow."
* Jos Jouas, Denia