From 1 December to 24 January the Cervantes Institute in Madrid will be showing “Love of the Sea. Neruda’s Jewels,” an exhibit of the distinguished poet that includes photographs, books from his private library, poems, and recordings on one of the subjects that fascinated him the most: the sea.
The exhibit also includes 400 of the over 9,000 sea shells that the Nobel Prize winner collected over the course of this life, which he donated to the Universidad de Chile in 1954.
Víctor Pérez, president of the educational institution, thanked the Madrid institute for its interest in displaying part of the national poet’s work: “This is the first time that they have been exhibited in public and is a reflection of Neruda’s love of Chile and of the entire world,” he stated.
One of the elements in the exhibit that causes the greatest impression is the large collection of shells. Pedro Núnez, the Chilean curator of the exhibit, said that the most attractive and beautiful ones in terms of structure and uniqueness were carefully chosen.
The reason why Madrid was chosen to hold the exhibit “Love of the Sea” is in particular due to the fact that the city is the world capital of the Spanish language and a place where the poet experienced strong emotions, like the Spanish Civil War and his friendship with other authors like Federico García Lorca and Rafael Alberti.
Pablo Neruda, the pseudonym of Neftalí Basoalto, was one of the most influential and renowned writers of the past century. Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez even described him as “the greatest poet of the 20th century.” He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, an acknowledgement that the Chilean poetess Gabriela Mistral also received in 1945.