In Segovia, Spain, I made some of new friends who live in a marionette museum. The museum is dedicated to the work of Francisco Peralta, one of the best marionette masters in Spain. In 1990, he was the first marionette maker to receive the Medal of Merit from the well-respected Institution of “Bellas Artes” (“Fine Arts”) in Madrid.
Francisco Peralta started out making marionettes that move with strings. Because he wanted to give the marionettes the most natural movements possible, he created very complicated systems of manipulation using many strings. The marionette performers had to practice for many hours to get the movements correct and avoid any tangling of the strings.
Here are some of the complex controllers used to manipulate the string marionettes:
After Mr. Peralta participated in an event that used larger-than-life size marionettes, he started to experiment with other systems of marionette controllers. Here is a large marionette controlled from the bottom. Take a look at the face. This mask can be removed and replaced with the mask that is on the floor to give the puppet another expression.
Mr. Peralta’s wife, Matilda sewed all the costumes for the puppets over the years. Francisco, Matilda and their five daughters all performed in the marionette shows as well!
Toward the end of his life, Mr. Peralta finished this prototype (see below) of a marionette puppet with the greatest capacity for various kinds of movements. This was Mr. Peralta’s proudest accomplishment and took him a lifetime to design and create.
To see Mr. Peralta moving this amazing marionette, watch this cool video:
Although Mr. Peralta accomplished so much during his lifetime, he was never satisfied in his search for new ways to make marionettes move. He was continuously curious and never gave up.
Is there something that you are really curious about? Are you in search of new ways to do things, too? What is something that you would like to accomplish during your lifetime?
Your marionette friend,
PS – My new marionette friends from the museum all wanted to say hi to you! They love visitors. If you are ever in Segovia, just follow signs for “La Colección de títeres de Francisco Peralta” or look for Calle Puerta de Santiago, 36 in Segovia. They invited me to one of their parties after hours. Here is a picture of us all dancing and having fun!😊