The novel Don Quixote inspired literally hundreds of artists, writers, and musicians. Seriously – you can see a list on Wikipedia!
Such cultural giants as Tennessee Williams, Gustave Flaubert, and George Balanchine took inspiration from the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Film directors from Arthur Hiller to Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam have sought to bring the story alive on film. Gilliam’s version – and his failure to complete it – was famously documented in Lost in La Mancha. Actors from Peter O’Toole to John Lithgow, Paul Scofield to Rex Harrison ventured to take on the role of Don Quixote. The tale has even been a Spanish animated film called Donkey Xote, with Sancho’s donkey as the main character!
Spanish art features the character of Don Quixote more than any other besides the classic figure of a bullfighter. The novel is the most famous work in Spanish literature, and Don Quixote is a frequent subject of art and illustration. Interestingly, the Don Quixote Iconographic Museum (Museo Iconografico del Quijote) is not in Spain, but in Guanajuato, Mexico, a small city with a major cultural scene. It features over 800 works depicting Don Quixote, often with other characters from the novel.
The characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza fascinated French painter Honore Daumier. As his sight failed in his later years, Daumier painted many scenes of the two traveling on the road together. Don Quixote also inspired Salvador Dali, Gustave Doré, and Pablo Picasso, among others, and artists like Hungarian painter Konrad Biro are still creating work in response to these characters and this story.
Musicians from Toad the Wet Sprocket to Gordon Lightfoot and Coldplay have been inspired to write songs about Don Quixote and his adventures. And of course, the three renowned composers we will feature in “Impressions of Don Quixote” on April 7 and 8 were also inspired by the famous Spanish novel: Maurice Ravel, Georg Telemann, and Richard Strauss.
Don’t miss “Impressions of Don Quixote.” Get tickets online or call 508.362.1111.