There is no generic masculine way of naming the gallery of illustrious men of the bicentennial institution in Madrid. On the walls of these rooms hang the portraits of 186 men and a single woman, Emilia Pardo Bazán, whose absence would have been excessively striking since the romantic writer was the first female member of the Madrid Athenaeum, when it had been open for 85 years. .
More than a century has passed for another portrait of a woman to be incorporated into the walls of this ancient cultural and scientific meeting place. This March 19, Carmen Laforet receives the tribute in which Acción Cultural Española participates, on the centenary of her birth, with a painting created by Francesco Pistolesi and the presence of the son of the writer, the writer and translator Agustín Cerezales. The Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, present at the event, has published on her Twitter account that “the inclusion of her portrait in the gallery of this institution is an act of justice that goes beyond literature.”
For the Athenaeum this “the beginning of a path to claim the presence of those Atheneist women who have also been part of history” and who have been opted until now. Shortly after Pardo Bazán was admitted, Blanca de los Ríos and Carmen de Burgos also applied for admission, which they obtained a month later. Other important women of culture and politics of the 20th century, such as Clara Campoamor, Rosa Chacel, Victoria Kent, Hildegart Rodríguez and Carmen Martín Gaite were also Atheneists.
The author of Any She became a member of the Athenaeum in 1942, and there, in the great library, she found a place that gave her the space and calm necessary to write the work that won her the first Nadal prize two years later.