Spanish artist and photographer José Manuel Ballester began his series “Concealed Spaces” back in 2006 and his work, which quickly went viral before, is again doing the rounds; its central theme echoing current events as he empties masterpieces of painting of their human subjects. Removing protagonists, the focus shifts to space, setting, and how to build scenarios.
José has created replicas of some of the world’s most famous artworks, exactly as you remember them – except, just as with the lockdowns prompted by the current Coronavirus Pandemic, all the people are gone.
With many of the world’s most famous gathering places eerily empty, Ballester’s work seems tailor-made for our troubled times.
Ballester uses Photoshop to seamlessly edit well-known masterpieces such as “The Last Supper” (1498) by Leonardo da Vinci, “The Raft of the Medusa” by Théodore Géricault (1819), “The Birth of Venus” (circa 1486) by Sandro Botticelli, and “Las Meninas” (1656) by Diego Velázquez to make the pictures look pristinely empty.
An offshoot of his regular work, in choosing which paintings to feature in the series, Ballester gravitated toward “the most universal themes used throughout the history of art: war, religion, mythology, death,” he told Artnet News.