The Prado has reopened a quarter of its gallery space with Reunited, a new display of nearly 200 paintings from its permanent collection. The exhibition will run until 13 September 2020. The museum’s masterpieces are displayed in novel juxtapositions, offering a new perspective on the permanent collection. For example, for the first time Rubens’ 17th-century “Saturn Devouring His Son” will be adjacent to Francisco Goya’s depiction of the same subject, painted nearly 200 years later. See the Prado’s website for more details on the works included, the new pairings, and additional videos on the exhibition.
The Prado has reopened with a limited capacity of only 1,800 people per day, compared to 15,000 on peak days last year. Visitors will have to book at least 24 hours in advance, have their temperatures checked at the entrance, wear masks throughout the visit, and there will be markings on the floor to indicate safe distances. The museum’s finances remain a concern despite reopening. Ticket prices will be halved until September 13th, and as the museum receives approximately half its funding from ticket sales. Furthermore, foreign tourists usually represent 70-80% of its visitors. The director of the Prado, Miguel Falomir, plans to showcase the museum’s permanent collection, which will help lower costs. Like many in the art world, he is concerned about the sustainability of the expensive ‘blockbuster exhibition’ model, which relies on loans from international collections and includes high insurance costs. However, in an interview with AFP, Falomir ended on a positive note, stating ‘It will take a while, but tourists will once again fill up the museums’.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas became the first major American museum to reopen earlier this week. Under the state government’s orders, the museum was allowed to open at 25% capacity with strict hygiene guidelines, including mandatory masks and temperature checks. As reported by the New York Times, first in the socially-distant line was nurse Joan Laughlin, who had come to see one of the museum’s current exhibitions, ‘Glory of Spain: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library’.
The traveling exhibition focuses on the art of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines, and spans more than 4000 years. The 200 objects on loan from the Hispanic Society of America include paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, maps, textiles, porcelains and ceramics, and metalwork and jewelry. The exhibition is organized chronologically into six groups: Antiquity in Spain, Medieval Spain, Golden Age Spain, Viceregal and 19th-Century Latin America, Enlightenment in Spain, and Modern Spain.
This may mark the beginning of the post-lockdown era for cultural institutions in Europe. Museums in Madrid and Barcelona were also allowed to open at limited capacity from May 25th, and French museums will follow at the beginning of next week.
The Spanish government’s Ministry of Culture and Sport has recently published a document detailing how museums and galleries may be able to manage visitors and collections once lockdown has been fully lifted in Spain. Xanthe Brooke has written a summary of their guidance:
‘In addition to implementing hygiene and physical distancing rules the Dept. considers that in the short term at least there will be no room for block-buster exhibitions attracting mass tourism, nor social and educational activities attracting groups of visitors, and that cultural activities should resume with the limitation of capacity to one third. Museum libraries, archives and research rooms will not be available to the public until the de-escalation phases have been completed and, in any case, assistance by telematic means will prevail.
Instead museums and galleries should continue to make their collections accessible by placing their collections online by digitisation, virtual reality, and other technological means. The Dept. goes on to state that though lower visitor numbers might increase the quality of the visit, it might also lead to a more ‘elitist museum’, and so museums must ensure that future visitors are diverse, and seek out methods in which participation can involve different sectors of society.
The Reina Sofía Museum of Contemporary Art has already announced that when it re-opens, sometime in early to mid-June, as well as abiding by hygiene and temperature advice, it will: aim to reduce its visitor numbers to 30% of its previous footfall; introduce a 1-way system around its rooms; and withdraw paper brochures, maps, plans and guides to the museum to prevent the transfer of the virus, and instead introduce an app for visitors’ mobile phones.’
The Fundación Juan March presents to the public its on-line gateway to the complete content of each of the 205 catalogues accompanying the exhibitions held at its three venues since 1973, in Madrid, Cuenca (the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español) and Palma de Mallorca (the Museu Fundación Juan March). This collection of documents will be continually updated, and its principal aims are the dissemination and promotion of research and knowledge in the fields of art and art history and the advancement of public awareness of the institution’s history of exhibitions. Each catalogue will be published online in the languages in which it originally appeared one year following its corresponding exhibition’s conclusion or once all print copies have been sold.
At its inauguration, All Our Art Catalogues since 1973 offers readers over 34,000 pages of material, including essays by more than 500 authors and images of 18,500 works by nearly 1,900 artists and extending beyond 20th century and contemporary art. An advanced navigation tool allows for interconnected searches across the entire site and within each catalogue, and results may be filtered by date, title, language and relevance. The search engine also generates recommendations for consulting similar material in other catalogues.
Six remarkable paintings by one of the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Golden Age, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682), have been conserved and researched at the National Gallery of Ireland. They depict the parable of the Prodigal Son. Fascinating details uncovered during the conservation project and a number of related prints will be displayed alongside the series, revealing the secrets of the artistic process of this master storyteller.
This event will feature an afternoon of presentations and a special exhibition preview in celebration of the opening of Murillo: The Prodigal Son Restored at the National Gallery of Ireland.
Showcasing a unique series of works by one of the most celebrated artists of the Spanish Golden Age, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), this in-focus exhibition explores themes of sin, repentance and forgiveness across six remarkable canvases. Donated to the National Gallery of Ireland by the Beit family in 1987, the six works have not been displayed together publicly for several decades. Murillo: The Prodigal SonRestored will celebrate the recent conservation of the series, which has revived the splendour of Murillo’s colours, brushwork, and mastery of narrative.
12pm – 1.15pm
Exhibition preview (Present your ticket for admission) Hugh Lane Room, Beit Wing, Level 3
1.15pm – 1.25pm
Registration Lecture Theatre, Beit Wing, Level -1
Welcome Sean Rainbird, Director, National Gallery of Ireland
Introduction Dr Aoife Brady, Curator, National Gallery of Ireland
Murillo: The Prodigal Son Revisited Muirne Lydon, Conservator, National Gallery of Ireland
The Prodigal Son series. “Quatro cuadritos” by Murillo in the Museo del Prado. Elena Cenalmor Bruquetas, Researcher, Museo del Prado
Discoveries and Display: Murillo’s Virgin and Child in Glory Kate O’Donoghue, Curator, National Museums Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery
Questions and discussion
Tea / coffee Courtyard
Introduction Prof. Stefano Cracolici, Director, Zurbarán Centre
“All rooms are furnished with great works of art” – the Beit collection Pauline Swords, Curator, Russborough, Co. Wicklow
A Painter of Street Urchins and Beggars? The perception of Murillo in Britain. Isabelle Kent, Independent scholar
“Something of immortal value”: Murillo at the Meadows Museum Dr Amanda Dotseth, Curator, Meadows Museum, Dallas
Questions and discussion
Click here for more information and to book tickets (Full price €25, students/OAPs €22.50,Friends €20)
The City of Agen and its Fine Arts Museum, located between Bordeaux and Toulouse in the South-west of France, will present, over the winter of 2019–2020, an outstanding exhibition with a fresh and unexpected view on Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) and his work.
Through a selection of works in several media (paintings, drawings, engravings), the exhibition will demonstrate the essential characteristics that remain constant in Goya’s work and reveal the role played by his collaborators in his studio.
The Museum’s scientific team is assisted in this project by one of the specialists of Goya’s work, Juliet Wilson-Bareau, and the event has received personal support from the French Minister of Culture.
Nearly 90 works loaned by museums and private collections around the world (France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA) will be on display in the Jacobins’ Church (Église des Jacobins), an Agen architectural jewel and an emblematic place for the Museum’s temporary exhibitions.
Click here for an exhibition leaflet, and here for practical information.
Over the past two decades, Portugal’s colonial rule in Asia, South America, and Africa has been subject to increasingly intense debate both within academe and society at large. Innovative research has begun to question benign and Euro-centric approaches to the Portuguese imperial past and has now arrived at profoundly different views which expose the violent and exploitative character of colonial rule.
This set of new perspectives on Portugal’s colonial past, however, is also the result of an unprecedented involvement of activists and civic groups in public debate. One important example are the Associations of Portuguese of African descent, which campaign against still-prevailing forms of celebrating the Portuguese colonial past. These include the recent decision to create a ‘Museum of Discovery’ dedicated to Portugal’s maritime glory, or the monument dedicated to the Jesuit missionary António Vieira.
Scholarly revision and community activism both face hostile opposition. This talk discusses the main developments in an ongoing debate that continues to intensify, and that in itself highlights the importance of fostering critical debate about Portugal’s colonial past.
Professor Pedro Cardim’s main area of research is the history of the early modern Iberian world, with a focus on the interactions between Portugal and the Spanish Monarchy. He also works on the Portuguese colonial empire and the early modern Atlantic world. He has published numerous books and articles, including Portugal y la Monarquía Hispánica, ca.1550–ca.1715 (2017) and Polycentric Monarchies: How Did Early Modern Spain and Portugal Achieve and Maintain a Global Hegemony? (2012, with Tamar Herzog, Gaetano Sabatini and José Javier Ruiz Ibáñez). He has held visiting professorships at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, New York University, Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès, and Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Seville).