Tag Archives: golden age

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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Featured Exhibition: ‘De Mena, Murillo, Zurbarán. Masters of the Spanish Baroque’, Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges, until 6 October and MNHA, Luxembourg, 24 January–07 June 2020

20 works of Spanish religious sculpture and painting are currently on display in the monumental wards of the ancient hospital of Bruges. It is a rare opportunity to become acquainted with some lesser-known aspects of Spain’s Golden Age. The highlight of the exhibition, in addition to paintings by famous Spanish masters like Murillo and Zurbaran, is a group of six hyper-realistic sculptures by the greatest sculptor of the Spanish Baroque, Pedro de Mena.
This project is in collaboration with the Luxemburg Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art and the exhibition will travel to this museum in 2020.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in English, with texts by Ruud Priem, Sibylla Goegebuer, Malgorzata Nowara, Gilles Zeimat, and Noël Geirnaert. Click here for more information on the exhibition and here for the catalogue.

Featured Exhibition: ‘Art and Empire: The Golden Age of Spain’, The San Diego Museum of Art, CA, until 2 September 2019

The neo-plateresque façade of the museum, begun in 1924 and designed by William Templeton Johnson and Robert W. Snyder, with sculptures by Chris Muelle

This new exhibition features a diverse selection of more than 100 outstanding works produced by leading artists from Spain and its global territories.

Spain’s Golden Age may be defined as the extraordinary moment when the visual arts, architecture, literature, and music all reached unprecedented heights.

Art & Empire: The Golden Age of Spain is the first exhibition in the United States to expand the notion of “Golden Age” to include the Hispanic world beyond the shores of the Iberian Peninsula. Such far-flung Spanish-controlled centers as Antwerp, Naples, Mexico, Lima, and the Philippines are represented by paintings, sculpture and decorative arts of astounding quality and variety from the pivotal years of about 1660 to 1750.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbarán, Jusepe de Ribera, El Greco, Juan de Valdés Leal, Juan Sánchez Cotán, and many more. This exhibition also marks the first time in the Museum’s history that all five of the Spanish masters represented on the Museum’s building façade —Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán, Ribera and El Greco— will be shown together at the Museum.

Also on display is a contemporary response to Art and Empire: The Golden Age of Spain, featuring a group of 12 encaustic-on-canvas “portraits” of Christ’s disciples by contemporary Spanish artist José-María Cano.

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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.

Specialist Workshop: “Golden Age Art and Globalization in Madrid’s Museums”, Madrid, Spain, September 2–12, 2019

Specialist Workshop “Golden Age Art and Globalization in Madrid’s Museums”
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, September 2–12 2019
Deadline for applications: Jun 2, 2019

Many of the objects that are admired today in Spain’s major museums arrived here in the Early Modern period. Collections of art,  
artifacts, and objects—everythig from paintings and sculptures to armor, textiles, feathers, books, exotic shells and even animal horns transmitted a variety of meanings, many of which are lost to the average museum visitor today.

Understanding these objects (their origins, how they arrived and how they were seen) introduces students to a deeper appreciation of how Spanish history and identity has been and is created in relationship with the rest of the world, and especially with Spanish-speaking  America and Asia.  The course will explore these issues using ten selected objects that will provide a view of early globalization focusing on questions raised by the objects themselves.  One of the topics to analyze will be the relationship of art to diplomacy, seeking to shed light on the value of paintings of distant places, peoples and animals as “proof” or “document” in the age before photography, or the place of “the others” (non-Europeans) in the history of Spanish and European societies in general, both in the past and in today’s globalized and multicultural world.  Attention will also be paid to questions such as commerce, consumption, religion, and  gender in a world of travelling objects and persons, always with an emphasis on elucidating how these travels created new meanings for objects in new contexts.

This course has a practical, object-based character, with practically all of the sessions taking place in museums, libraries and other collections in Madrid and its surroundings.  Presentations and discussions will take place in fromt of the objects themselves.  This experience will help students to work with objects and to be aware of the material aspects of globalization, further from what is expressed in academic texts and articles. It is expected too that all will feel  something of the fascination and intrigue experienced by contemporaries who saw these things for the first time.

For further details and inscriptions:  
http://formacioncontinua.uam.es/33421/detail/golden-age-art-and-globalization-in-madrids-museums.html

For enquiries, please contact:
mcruz.decarlos@uam.es / elena.alcala@uam.es / isabel.cervera@uam.es

Maius Workshop Meeting: Alex Letvin, ‘Baroque Rivals? Zurbarán and Murillo Between Seville and Madrid’

The next meeting of the Maius Workshop will take place on 18 February, 5–6pm, in the Research Forum, Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, Kings Cross, London WC1X 9EW (*Please note the change of address).

Alex Letvin, Andrew W. Mellon and Maude de Schauensee Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in the Department of European Painting and Sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will discuss work-in-progress research on Spanish Golden Age painters Zurbarán and Murillo. 

Maius is a friendly platform for informal dialogue and collaborative research. Our sessions are open to all, and research in early stages of development is especially welcome. We look forward to seeing you at Alex’s presentation, and please feel free to email us with ideas and suggestions for future events.

Closing Soon! ‘Ribera: Art of Violence’, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, until 27 January 2019

ribera-martiri-de-sant-bartomeu-large-bannerThis is the first exhibition in the UK dedicated to the Spanish Baroque painter, draughtsman and printmaker Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652). Born in Játiva, Valencia, Ribera emigrated to Italy as a young artist. Proud of his Spanish heritage, he eventually settled in Naples, then a Spanish territory, but never again returned to Spain. A hybrid figure, Ribera had a significant influence on the art of both countries in the seventeenth century.

Introducing this artist to a UK audience, the exhibition focuses on some of Ribera’s most powerful images featuring saints and sinners, flaying and flogging. Ribera’s images of pain have often been described as shocking and even grotesque in their realism. In a common historiographical trope, the artist himself has been labelled as sadistic and violent. Challenging this long-standing interpretation, Ribera: Art of Violence will reveal the complex artistic, religious and cultural discourses underpinning the artist’s violent imagery in paint and on paper. This exploration will be anchored by a number of major loans from North American and European collections, with some works travelling to the UK for the first time.

613cmo6qaylA scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition, showcasing the new research which has informed the display.

Ribera: Art of Violence is co-curated by ARTES committee member Dr Edward Payne, author of a PhD thesis on the theme of violence in Ribera’s art (2012) and contributor to the catalogue raisonné of Ribera’s drawings (2016), and Dr Xavier Bray (Director, The Wallace Collection), former Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator at Dulwich Picture Gallery, and curator of the National Gallery’s exhibitions The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700 (2009) and Goya: The Portraits (2015).