Ricardo Arranz, The Art of Love

It is the subject of pop songs and scientific research, it gives a second chance to the hopeless. It has brought men to their knees. It defies definition. It is everywhere yet without it, we are hollow and broken. Some say it is in the eyes, some say it is in the heart. It can disappear without warning. It is all you need.


Some love requires reciprocity. Unrequired, it is the cause of borken hearts. But then there is another kind, an awe for the thing itself. It is without expectation, a deeply felt admiration for which love is the only fitting tribute, To browse the art collection of Ricardo Arranz at the Hotel Villa Padierna, Marbella, Spain, this love is evident. And, one he shares with every guest who walks through its doors. The Villa rises out of the curvaceous valleys of marbella, its elegant columns and surrounding cypress trees reaching toward the aubergine sky. Marbella is no stranger to elegance. In 1947, Prince Max Egon zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg’s Rolls-Royce broke down in the sleepy little village. He was so enchanted by the surroundings that he bought the place and built a hotel for himself and his aristocratic friends. Since then, Marbella has been the meeting place of the wealty and titled, the beautiful and the famouse. Over years, visitors from Princess Marie-Louise of Prussia to antonio Banderas, from Countess Gunilla von Bismarck to Sean Connery have come here to pass their leisure time. And now, Mr. Arranz seems poised to usher in a new golden afe for Marbella. ‘ Marbella is, beyond a doubt, the most exclusive destination in Spain’, says Mr. Arranz from his oak panelled office. And it is here that he has brought some of the world’s most beautiful and rare art. In each corner and on every landing, there is a Roman sculpture or Grecian urn, statues of the finest quality. Their carved faces look out through the centuries, unchanged yet alive with the artistry of hands long passed. I asked Mr.Arranz what drew him to build such an impressive collection.’ I believe that art is essential to the education and culture of a generation. I cannot see one without the other.’he says. But one can’t help believe there is more to it than that. Much of the collection seen at the Villa Padierna has been culled from his homes, lending a personal feel. The consistency of taste, mostly sculpture from the 17th and 18th century. Malaga paintings of the 19th century and 18th century paintings from seville exhibits a passion of a personal style. The carvings of stone made flesh are a lost art. The postraiture is of men and women from an era bygone. Their faces kept forever in the Polaroid style of their time. These images are all there is left of these people and this collection preserves them. These, the relics of the past. their eyes, limpid with feeling, cast in attitudes, capturing a moment, are the clues to a mystery. These stones and canvasses preserve a time when a bust of marble was proof of station. It is of an ancient culture and these works of art educate us. To keep them is to pass on the past. To possess them is an act of love. To share them is an act of humanity that teaches us about the nature of culture. This respect for history is also more immediate. Ricardo’s wife, Alicia Villapadierna de Arranz, is daughter of the late Count of Villapadierna, for whom the hotel is named. The Count and his wife-a well known golf champion-rubbed shoulders with the royal and elite.’ I also have this collection as a tribute to my wife and her esteemed family’, says Mr. Arranz. ‘ The Count was a great entrepeneur and a man of culture. The hotel and the art within are in appreciation to him and to uphold the family name.’ Man has built some of the world’s most impressive structure in its honour. He has scoured the world for relics to give tribute. Behind every great achievement lies the deepest of man’s emotions: Love