A guest post by Anna Espinola Lynn and Clare Hills-Nova
On 23 October, 2019, ARTES, together with the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, hosted a transdisciplinary session at the University’s Weston Library, focusing on Mesoamerican manuscripts. The event was designed to mark the 500th anniversary of the historic meeting between the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) and the Aztec ruler Moctezuma the Younger (1466–1520), just outside Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), on 8 November 1519. Attendees included students, academics and representatives of other cultural institutions.
Attendance at this exclusive event was by invitation only. Would you like to take part in similar visits in the future? Join ARTES today!
The afternoon began in the Weston Library’s Visiting Scholars’ Centre. On view were the Selden Roll (MS. Arch. Selden. A. 72 (3)) alongside two modern books produced by Alfonso García Tellez, using the traditional, amate paper-based techniques evidenced by rare Pre-Hispanic codices and rolls.
The session began with Sir John Elliott’s essay on the Cortez-Moctezuma encounter before moving on to presentations by Giuseppe Marcocci (University of Oxford), Emily Floyd (UCL), and the Bodleian Libraries’ Head of Conservation, Virginia Lladó-Buisán.
Giuseppe followed Sir John’s paper with a consideration of the roles vision and visual culture took on in the encounter between the Spanish visitors and the Mexica. Turning to contemporary accounts of the encounter that emphasize vision, as well as representations of the imagined or real Other, Giuseppe pointed to visual asymmetries active in colonial contexts as they participated in relations of power.
Emily, meanwhile, provided a reading of the pre-colonial Selden Roll as it expressed the formation of a new cycle of rule in central Mexico. She discussed the multiplicity of ways the Roll can be read, and invited further conversation as to possible representations of time, succession, generation and regeneration. Regarding the name of the Selden Roll, Emily noted that this was associated with its colonial history of collecting more than with the Roll’s actual content, commenting that ‘The Roll of New Fire’ had recently been adopted as a more appropriate title for it.
Virginia followed up with insights into the processes and materials used in creating the Roll, drawing upon the results of recent research. Participants in this session had the unique pleasure of getting up close to the Selden Roll and asking those experts present questions about anything from shifts in hue or line quality, to contexts of production in pre-colonial and colonial environments, and on the multivalent symbolisms in the Roll.
Following a compelling period of conversation around and about the objects, the afternoon concluded with a visit to the Weston Library’s Talking Maps exhibition, where the Codex Mendoza (Bodleian Library MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1) was on display. Here, they were able to extend the conversation regarding the authorship, readership and linguistic referents of the pre-colonial Roll of New Fire versus the colonial era’s Mendoza Codex.
Images courtesy the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
On 19 November 1819 Ferdinand VII of Spain inaugurated the Museo Real de Pinturas. Over the following two centuries, the new institution would turn into the Museo Nacional del Prado, one of the world’s most visited museums with an unparalleled collection of around 8,200 drawings, 7,600 paintings, 4,800 prints, and 1,000 sculptures.
The Museum will celebrate its anniversary with several exhibitions and events over the course of the year. Highlights of the programme are:
Museo del Prado 1819–2019. A place of memory, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, until 10 March 2019
This exhibition opens the anniversary celebrations by offering a survey of the museum’s history that focuses on the dialogue between the Museum and society; heritage policies in Spain; the trends that have guided the growth of the museum’s collection and its transformation into a place that has allowed Spanish and foreign writers, intellectuals and artists to reflect on the country’s past and its collective identity.
Velázquez and the Golden Age, CaixaForum, Barcelona, until 3 March 2019
Art at the court of Philip IV was an international language devoid of local boundaries. The work of Velázquez after 1623 is best understood in this international context. He was deeply influenced by paintings in the royal collections, especially works by Titian, Tintoretto and Rubens. One of his key experiences was the trip to Rome in 1629 where he encountered classical and Renaissance art and established contacts with his contemporaries in Italy. The exhibition underscores such internationalism through a selection of 61 paintings associated with Velázquez, the Spanish royal collections and the Spanish Golden Age. More than twenty of these works were painted by Italian, Flemish and French artists, including Titian, Rubens, Luca Giordano, Jan Brueghel, Anthonis Mor, Giovanni Lanfranco, Claude Lorrain, Salvator Rosa, Massimo Stanzione and Guido Reni. Spanish artists are represented through works by Ribera, Zurbarán, Murillo, Alonso Cano, Pereda, Maíno, Sánchez Coello, Mazo, Van der Hamen and others.
El maestro de papel. Cartillas españolas para aprender a dibujar de los siglos XVII y XVIII [The paper teacher. Spanish Drawing Manuals of the 17th and 18th Centuries], Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, from 15 October 2019 to 2 February 2020
This exhibition focuses on Spanish drawing manuals of the 17th and 18th centuries, locating them in their international context. These rare and innovative manuals responded to changing trends in the theory and practice of art. While such learning aids were produced across Europe, this exhibition will highlight the unique features of Spanish examples through works by José de Ribera, Pedro de Villafranca y Malagón, José García Hidalgo, Friar Matías de Irala and José López Enguídanos.
Solo la voluntad me sobra. Drawings by Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, from 19 November 2019 to 16 February 2020
This exhibition is the result of the research undertaken for the publication of a new catalogue raisonné of Goya’s drawings, a subject to which the Museo del Prado has always devoted particular attention and which is one of the keystones of its collection. The exhibition will bring together more than 100 drawings by Goya from the Prado’s own collections and from public and private ones around the world. It will be presented as an extensive chronological survey of the master’s oeuvre, ranging from the Italian Sketchbook to the Bordeaux Albums. It will also offer an up-to-date vision of the ideas that recurrently appear in Goya’s work, revealing the ongoing and long-lasting relevance of his thinking.
Sofonisba Anguissola y Lavinia Fontana. Dos modelos de mujeres artistas, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 22 October 2019 to 2 February 2020
The exhibition will reveal the artistic personality of two of the most outstanding women artists in western art. Through a total of 60 works and for the first time, the Museo del Prado will jointly present the most important paintings by Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1535–1625) and Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614). The two artists achieved recognition and fame among their contemporaries for and despite their status as female painters. Both were able to break away from the prevailing stereotypes assigned to women in relation to artistic practice and the deep-rooted scepticism regarding women’s creative and artistic abilities. In particular, Sofonisba Anguissola had close connections with the Spanish court as tutor to Queen Elizabeth of Valois and later official court painter to King Philip II.
Their Majesties’ Retiring Room, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 9 April 2019 to 24 November 2019
This exhibition project will recreate the original aspect of Room 39, known as Their Majesties’ Retiring Room. First opened in 1828, it was intended as a portrait gallery of the Bourbon Dynasty. The images on display were accompanied by still lifes, floral compositions and landscapes and by other paintings that depict events from the reigns of Charles III and Ferdinand VII. This installation will recreate the hanging of the paintings at different heights and will include some of the furnishings made for this space, including Ferdinand VII’s toilet.
Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer. Miradas afines en España y Holanda [Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer. Shared perspectives in Spain and the Low Countries], Museo Nacional del Prado, 25 June 2019 to 29 September 2019
This exhibition on late 16th- and early 17th-century Dutch and Spanish painting is the result of an extensive and important research project on the part of the Museum arising from a collaborative agreement with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which will be lending a significant group of works. The exhibition will offer a reflection on the pictorial traditions represented by Spain and the Low Countries. While Dutch art-historical literature has considered these traditions as essentially different, this exhibition will aim to juxtapose the historical myths and artistic realities of the two countries and to reflect on the numerous traits that they share. In order to appreciate these parallels the exhibition will include major works by artists such as Velázquez, Rembrandt, Ribera, Frans Hals and Vermeer.
Permanent Displays and Other Projects
Prado 200, Museo Nacional del Prado and online, from 1 November 2019
Prado 200 is a new feature within the museum’s permanent display. This installation is presented as nine chronological sections which will present the museum’s history with an emphasis on its architecture, public image and its principal exhibitions and activities. Curated by Victor Cageao, it will include works of art and documentary material from the permanent collection and from the holdings of the Museum’s archive and library (paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, documents, architectural models, plans, etc.), displayed in Rooms 100, 101 and 102 of the Villanueva Building. It will be accompanied by a specially designed online timeline providing access to graphic and technical documentation on the Museum’s history.
The video Memoria audiovisual del Museo del Prado present a selection of films and other television programmes filmed in the Museo del Prado, from 1907 to today. Voces del Prado. Una historia oral collects the oral history of the museum through interviews with employees, from the 1940s to today.
On Tour through Spain, various locations, until 8 December 2019
As part of the project De gira por España, important works from the Prado collection will be on loan to a series of provincial museums, one for each of Spain’s autonomous regions or autonomous cities. Click here to find an interactive map of the loans.
ARTES plans to join the party and organise events to celebrate the Prado’s birthday, for example in this year’s Glendinning lecture, by Javier Barón, Two Masters of the Prado: Velázquez, El Greco and Modern Painting. We have also changed our cover image to El Museo Del Prado, a painting by José Franco Cordero dated to c. 1890. The work, in the collection of the Madrid’s history museum, shows the Museum’s north façade before the construction of a new entrance designed by Francisco Jareño and completed around 1892. The church of San Jerónimo el Real is visible in the background. Click here for more information on this work.
December of 2017 will witness the 400th birthday of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682), one of the outstanding painters of Golden Age Seville. The Meadows Museum, which holds more paintings by the artist than any other collection in the United States, will celebrate his anniversary with a special exhibition. The display will celebrate the Meadows’ extraordinary holdings of artworks by the artist, and pair them with paintings by Murillo’s Sevillian contemporaries, thus highlighting the artistic context with which he remains so intimately associated.
Click here for more information on this exhibition.
BSS Concert, VIII Edition: Murillo Sacred and Secular in Spanish Art and Song, Guildhall School of Music, London, Monday 23rd October, 6pm to 7pm followed by reception
The concert will be a one-hour illustrated performance titled ‘Sacred and Secular in Spanish Art and Song.’ Curated by Ricardo Gosalbo and Professor Barry Ife, it will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Murillo. The programme features a rich and varied programme of songs and images celebrating four hundred years of the birth of the Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in 1617. Guildhall postgraduate singers perform settings of Spanish Golden-Age lyrics by Joaquín Turina, Eduard Toldrá, Joaquín Rodrigo, Joaquín Nin, Amadeo Vives, Fernando Obradors and Frederic Mompou against a vibrant backdrop of some of Murillo’s finest drawings and paintings.
Following the stunning performance, guests will have the opportunity to have a small wine reception with the performers.
Tickets: BSS members £15, non members: £25.
Tickets include a glass of wine.
55 tickets available. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Any benefits from ticket sales will go towards the BSS Grants which some of the Guildhall School of Music artists have won. This event is supported by the Guild Hall School of Music and the Embassy of Spain.
The Museum and Roman Temple of Cordoba: History of a Restoration, Archeological Museum of Cordoba, closes 24 September 2017.
Intended to celebrate the Museum’s 150th anniversary, this display focuses on the most important Roman monument in the city, whose architectural and sculptural fragments have formed part of the Museum’s collections since its early history. The exhibition also includes archival documents, sketches, plans and notes made by the mid-nineteenth century excavators of the Roman temple.