The National Gallery holds one of the finest paintings collections by the Spanish 17th–century artist Francisco de Zurbarán in the world. They have also recently acquired a painting by his son, Juan. Zurbarán lived in Seville, the main European port to the Americas from which he sent over 100 paintings.
Akemi Herráez Vossbrink, The CEEH Curatorial Fellow in Spanish Paintings, discusses the history of collecting Zurbarán, including paintings in their Spanish context, collecting practices in the UK, and the circulation of his work in the Americas.
This event is free and no booking is required. Spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
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.”
ARTES committee member Akemi Herráez Vossbrink, assistant curator of the exhibition “Bartolomé Bermejo. Master of the Spanish Renaissance” at The National Gallery, will give a lecture on the life and works of this Spanish painter.
Bartolomé Bermejo was a fifteenth-century Spanish artist whose painting technique, mixing Spanish and Netherlandish features, was unparalleled amongst his Iberian contemporaries. He had a limited output of less than twenty paintings of which seven are featured in the current National Gallery exhibition. This is the first time that six of these paintings are shown in the UK and the restoration of the National Gallery’s painting of Saint Michael Triumphs over the Devil (1468) has enabled the Gallery to showcase Bermejo’s earliest masterpiece. Following the two major Bermejo retrospectives at the Prado Museum and the MNAC (Barcelona), this exhibition features paintings ranging from different periods of Bermejo’s career demonstrating his development as he moved throughout the Crown of Aragon (mostly encompassing territories in eastern Spain). This talk will focus on the seven paintings shown in the exhibition considering them within their context and retracing Bermejo’s artistic career. Bermejo’s Saint Michael, the Acqui Terme triptych and the Desplà Pietà (reproduced above), will receive special attention in the lecture, which will compare their donors, production, intended location and historical context.
This event is for a general audience and is organised by the Instituto Cervantes — London. Free, reistration required. Click here to register.
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.
A free one-room show which draws on Birmingham’s collection of modern and contemporary art to explore how artists have used a wide range of styles and imagery to interpret complex human emotion and experiences. The display is centred around the sculpted polychrome group Man and His Sheep (1989) by the Brazilian-born artist Ana Maria Pacheco, which has not been on show for over five years. The striking installation consists of eight lifelike carved wooden figures arranged in a procession. Each imposing figure is carved from a single piece of limewood then painted and waxed to give a startling lifelike appearance, enhanced by their onyx eyes and acrylic teeth, which add a somewhat sinister expression. Pacheco’s oil painting In Illo Tempore I (1994) is also on display. The display also includes two Picasso etchings from the Vollard Suite. Winged Bull Watched by Four Children (1934) shows a monstrous mythological beast, whilst Portrait of Vollard (1937) uses lighter and darker shades to depict different characteristics of Ambroise Vollard, the art dealer who commissioned the Suite of prints. For conservation reasons neither of these works on paper are likely to be on display again soon. Other artists whose portraits are featured in the exhibition include a self-portrait by the Birmingham-born David Bomberg and Frank Auerbach’s etching of his friend the art historian Michael Podro. Click here for more information.
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.