New and noteworthy exhibition openings in Spain, October 2020

El Greco (1541-1614). Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane or Christ on the Mount of Olives (c. 1600). Colección Pittas.

Obras maestras de la colección Valdés, Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, 7 October 2020 – 1 February 2021.

The first exhibition devoted to the art collection of the Bilbao businessman Félix Fernández-Valdés (1895- 1976), 4 of whose paintings entered the Prado’s collection after his death and others are now distributed around other public and private collections in Spain. The exhibition shows 79 works out of a total of over 400, ranging from the medieval period to the 20th century and include paintings by El Greco, Luis de Morales, Anton van Dyck, José de Ribera, Francisco de Zurbarán, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Juan de Valdés Leal, Carreño, Francisco de Goya, Eduardo Rosales, Mariano Fortuny, Darío de Regoyos, Joaquín Sorolla, Ignacio Zuloaga, Julio Romero de Torres, Daniel Vázquez Díaz, José Gutiérrez Solana. The exhibition reconstructs one of the most important private collections of the second half of the 20th century, and one which was not only rich in ‘Golden Age’ Spanish paintings, but also medieval Spanish art, with a significant triptych by Bernardo Serra, a panel by Fernando Gallego and the triptych from Quejana (in Álava), and works from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Gaudí & trencadís Museo Nacional de Cerámica, Valencia, 2 October 2020 – 31 January 2021.

An exhibition sponsored by the World Monuments Fund which investigates the origin, development and techniques used by the Catalan architect Gaudí to create his signature trencadís, a form of mosaic with which many of his architectural forms were covered. The display shows 53 works, 33 of which are original (four from the Valencian museum) and 20 are reproductions made for didactic purpose, by the conservator Montse Agüero. The exhibition divides into two parts, the first explored the links between the trencadís and ancient mosaic techniques whether as practised by Romans or Venetians, in stone or ceramics. The second section analyses the development of the technique within Gaudí’s work from the Torre Güell, the first building in which he used trencadís, and has a special display about the use of the technique in Valencia itself, especially on its railway station Estación del Norte and on the facades of the houses in the suburb of Cabanyal. A five-minute video in which one of the craftsmen working on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona explains in Catalan (with Castilian subtitles) how the workshop creates the trencadis for the cathedral spires, is found at https://youtu.be/hSbDvnV9A98

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