Category Archives: Uncategorized

Celebrating the Prado: A Day of Special Events at the National Gallery, London, 30 September 2019

The National Gallery will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Spain’s foremost artistic institution, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, with a day of special events. Read below or click here to discover what’s on.

In conversation: Celebrating 200 years of the Prado

Lunchtime talk, Sainsbury Wing Theatre, National Gallery, London, Monday 30 September 2019, 1–1.45pm

Miguel Falomir © Archivo Fotográfico. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Discover Madrid’s Prado Museum: past, present and future. Miguel Falomir, Director of the Prado Museum, Madrid, joins Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, to discuss the history and dynamic future of Spain’s most eminent art museum, which celebrates its bicentenary this year.

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Picasso and the Prado

Lunchtime talk, Sainsbury Wing Theatre, National Gallery, London, Monday 30 September 2019, 2–2.45pm

Pablo Picasso in Antibes, Summer 1946

The Prado Museum in Madrid held a special place in Picasso’s heart and mind. As a young artist he visited the museum many times, drawn to the world of El Greco and Velázquez. Later, in 1936, the Spanish Republic awarded him the title of Honorary Director-in-Exile of the Prado Museum in gratitude for his support. In 1957 he created a series of 58 variations of Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas’, the iconic work in the Prado. Art historian Gijs van Hensbergen tells the story of Picasso’s life-long relationship with the Prado.

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Black and light: Discover the mystique of the Prado Museum by night

Film Screening and Q&A, Sainsbury Wing Theatre, National Gallery, London, Monday 30 September 2019, 3–5.20pm

© 2017- Alvaro Perdices

Join award-winning film-maker Álvaro Perdices for a screening of his stunning 2015 film ‘Negro y Luz’, an artistic essay on darkness and light exploring the Prado Museum at night.

3 pm Introduction to the film with Álvaro Pedrices
3.10 pm Film showing of Negro y Luz (2015)
5.30 pm Q&A with Álvaro Perdices
5.40 pm Close

Click here for more information.

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Closing Soon: Balenciaga and Spanish Painting, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, until 22 September 2019

Francisco de Zurbarán
Saint Casilda, ca. 1635
Oil on canvas. 171 x 107 cm
© Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The Spanish fashion designer’s approach to his designs was informed by his lifelong love of art sparked by his youthful admiration of the paintings owned by clients of his seamstress mother, in particular the Marquis and Marchioness of Casa Torres, who spent their summers in the Palacio Aldamar (also known as Vista Ona) in Getaría. Three of the paintings on display in this exhibition, and loaned by the Prado, were in that collection: Head of an Apostle by Velázquez; Saint Sebastian by El Greco; and Cardinal Luis María de Borbón y Vallabriga by Goya. The latter establishes a dialogue with a magnificent red dress suit with a short jacket loaned from the Museo del Traje in Madrid. Balenciaga frequently drew on the heritage of his Spanish homeland, going further than adding flamenco ruffles to his dresses and seeking inspiration by re-imagining bull fighters’ jackets. The exhibition explores the influence of four centuries of Spanish painting on the couturier’s work. Zurbarán was one inspiration, his drapery influencing Balenciaga’s bold sashes. In 1939 Velázquez’s portraits of the Infanta Magarita were reinterpreted by the dress designer’s work. Also notable is the interaction between a spectacular blue silk evening gown and cape and the mantle of the same colour seen in The Immaculate Conception by Murillo from the Arango collection. The curator Eloy Martínez de la Pera, has drawn together some 90 examples of Balenciaga’s work alongside 55 paintings, including works by El Greco, Murillo, Goya and the nineteenth-century artist Antonio María Esquivel. Paintings have been lent by the Prado, Bilbao, Seville and Valencia and costumes, some of which have never been displayed before and designs have been lent by the Balenciaga Museum in his hometown in Getaría, and archives in Paris. The exhibition also explores the impact of Philip II’s court making the use of black fashionable for clothing throughout Europe, and how Balenciaga chose to transform it in his own way. As the magazine Harper’s Bazaar wrote in 1938: “at the new Spanish house Balenciaga [in Paris] the black is so black that it hits you like a blow. Thick Spanish black, almost velvety, a night without stars, which makes the ordinary black seem almost grey.”

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News on Journals: Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture/Metropolitan Museum Journal

Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing the most current international research on the visual culture of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, as well as that created in diaspora. A defining focus of the journal is its concentration of current scholarship on both Latin American and Latinx visual culture in a single publication. The journal aims to approach ancient, colonial, modern and contemporary Latin American and Latinx visual culture from a range of interdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives. The journal was first published in January 2019, and three issues are now available on the journal’s website.

The Metropolitan Museum Journal presents richly illustrated studies of works in the Museum’s collection, including prominent as well as lesser known pieces, and relating them to works in other collections. The journal’s editorial board has recently announced that starting with volume 55, authors who publish in the Metropolitan Museum Journal (MMJ) will no longer be responsible to provide or pay for high-resolution images. The editorial office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will acquire all high-resolution images and obtain English-language, world publication rights for print and electronic editions of MMJ. Journal authors will no longer need to spend time and effort on securing images. Click here for more information on this innovative policy.

Featured Exhibition: ‘Frente a Frente. Dos visiones fotográficas de la Guerra Civil. Constantino Suárez y Florentino López “Floro”‘, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Madrid, until 29 September 2019

At the start of the civil war, Constantino Suárez was a 37-year old professional photographer. 36-year-old Florentino López, known as Floro, owned a shop selling groceries, typewriters, and phtographic material. The two never met, yet between July 1936 and October 1937 both portrayed the conflict from the perspective of their different cities—Gijón y Oviedo—and sides—Suárez was active on the republican front, while López lived in a besieged city always controlled by the Nationalist rebels. Entitled ‘Frente a Frente’, a play of words on the ambiguity between ‘el frente’, the front, and ‘la frente’, the forhead, this exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Antropología presents photographs in the collection of the Museum of the Asturian People (Gijón), focusing on the similarity of subject rather than on differences in politics and outcome.

Eighty years have passed since the end of Spain’s most recent Civil War (1936–1939), but its traumatic legacy continues to cast a long shadow over the lives of generations of Spaniards. The dictatorship of Francisco Franco kept the wounds of the conflict open and raw. In the wars that raged across Europe from the 1930s onwards, the armies on the battlefield fought alongside the civilian population, which unfortunately took centre stage as the greatest victim of the violent conflicts. This exhibition shows different aspects of life during wartime in Asturias, among both civilians and combatants, between July 1936 and October 1937, when the fall of Gijón marked the definitive defeat of the Republican Northern Front. The images captured by these two photographers are similar in ways that transcend their attachment to the two opposing sides in the war. Both depicted the same society caught up in conflict. What they found was something in common: the same destruction, the same pain, the same suffering, but also the same wish to have life go on despite it all.

Click here for an article on the exhibition, published on 23 July in El País.

Click here for the exhibition website and here for a booklet.

Some snapshots and memories of ARTES’ Sorolla Symposium

In collaboration with The Embassy of Spain, The Instituto Cervantes and the National Gallery, ARTES organised a symposium dedicated to the painter Joaquín Sorolla (1863–1923), currently celebrated in the exhibition Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light at the National Gallery (until 7 July). Speakers included two ARTES committee members, Gail Turner and Akemi Herráez, as well as museum directors and art historians from Spain and the UK. Follow the link below for some images and impressions of a day to remember.

Opens Today: Balenciaga and Spanish Painting, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, until 22 September 2019

Francisco de Zurbarán
Saint Casilda, ca. 1635
Oil on canvas. 171 x 107 cm
© Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

In the summer of 2019 the museum is presenting an exhibition that connects the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the most admired and influential fashion designer of all time, with the tradition of 16th– to 20th-century Spanish painting.

References to Spanish art and culture are a recurring presence in Balenciaga’s work. The simple, minimalist lines of religious habits or the architectural volume of their cloth are to be found in many of his designs. The billowing train of a flamenco dancer’s dress echoed in the flounces on some dresses, the glinting reflections on a bullfighter’s suit, brilliantly conveyed in the sequin embroidery on a bolero jacket, and the aesthetic of Habsburg court dress echoed in black velvets embellished with jet trim in some creations are just a few examples. Balenciaga constantly studied the history of art and made use of these influences, expressed through his own powerful and unique style, throughout his career, including his most avant-garde period, reviving historic garments and reinterpreting them in a strikingly modern manner.

The exhibition, curated by Eloy Martínez de la Pera, will include a carefully-selected group of paintings loaned from private Spanish collections and public museums, including the Museo Nacional del Prado and the museums of Fine Arts of Seville, Valencia and Bilbao. They will be accompanied by a group of important creations by Balenciaga, some of them never previously exhibited, loaned from national and international museums including the Museo Balenciaga in Guetaria, the Museo del Traje in Madrid and other international institutions and private collections.

Click here for more information.

Online Resources from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and MoMA

Since 2016, MoMA and the Guggenheim Museum have worked on digitising exhibition catalogues and other material related to their displays and collections.

MoMA’s ‘Exhibition History‘ page offers access to photographs, interpretation, checklists and other material for 4,918 exhibitions from the museum’s founding in 1929 to the present. ARTES members may be particularly interested to discover a 1931 exhibition dedicated to Diego Rivera, the show American Sources of Modern Art (Aztec, Mayan, Incan) of 1933, the ground-breaking Cubism and Abstract Art of 1936, the 1939 show Picasso: Forty years of his art and exhibitions dedicated to the Brazilian artist Candido Portinari and to Joan Miró in 1940. The archive offers a way to explore the museum’s history during its closure for refurbishment and redisplay (re-opens October 21).

On archive.org, art lovers and researchers can read and download more than 200 catalogues published by the Guggenheim Museum. Highlights include the exhibition Tauromaquia (Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venice, 1985), Berriaren tradizioa: Guggenheim bildumako maisulanak, 1945–1990 (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 1995), and The Aztec Empire (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2004).