The first UK exhibition of Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923), Spain’s most prominent Impressionist painter, opens today at the National Gallery, London. Born in Valencia, the artist is known as the ‘master of light’ for his iridescent canvases. From the vivid seascapes, garden views, and bather scenes for which he is most renowned, to portraits, landscapes and genre scenes of Spanish life, the exhibition features more than 60 works spanning Sorolla’s career—many of which are travelling from private collections and from afar.
The exhibition has been organised by the National Gallery and the National Gallery of Ireland, in collaboration with Museo Sorolla. Click here for more informati and to buy tickets.
The exhibition will then travel to the National Gallery of Ireland, 10 August–3 November 2019. Click here for more information
Francesco José de Goya Lucientes (1746-1828) and William Hogarth (1647-1764) were the most remarkable artists of their times. Both were famous painters, but their most compelling works are the prints that they made and published themselves. Often produced in serial format, like graphic novels, the prints were aimed at a more popular market than their paintings. This is the first exhibition to show Goya and Hogarth’s works together. It features a hundred prints, selected from the stellar collections of the Whitworth and the Manchester Art Gallery, and provides a unique opportunity to compare their extraordinary graphic work.
Both outsiders, Hogarth and Goya cast their candid gazes on their dysfunctional societies. Poverty, homelessness, warfare, violence, cruelty, sexual abuse and human trafficking, social inequity, political corruption, racism, superstition, hypocrisy, rampant materialism, nationalism, mental illness, and alcoholism all were subjected to their forensic scrutiny —no topic was off-limits. These challenging prints provoke a spectrum of responses, including shock, discomfort, laughter, pleasure, pain and empathy. The scenarios that Goya and Hogarth unflinchingly depicted are startlingly familiar to the contemporary viewer, and the images provoke us to turn our embarrassed gazes on our own society, and ourselves.
The exhibition is also timely, as it takes place during the troubled run-up to Britain’s exit from the European Union. Hogarth and Goya both lived through extended periods of warfare with France, and Hogarth claimed to hate the French, although he was a frequent visitor to Paris and hired French engravers for his print series Marriage a-la Mode. Angry, troubled, and ambivalent, Hogarth seems to embody the tortured mind-set of Britain on the eve of Brexit.
The Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica and the Center for Spain in America (CSA) encourage studies on Spanish history, art and literature by establishing doctoral and postdoctoral scholarships at European and American universities, as well as at research centres whose holdings are particularly relevant to the knowledge of Spanish culture. They likewise establish assistantships for curatorial work at museums with significant holdings of Spanish painting.
CANONS AND REPERTOIRES:Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019
The visual arts in Spain have long been haunted by the spectres of six giants: El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya and Picasso. Still today, these canonical figures tower over all others and continue to shape the story of Spanish art, which has been traditionally told in monographic form. Although the strength of the Spanish canon has informed different disciplines (literature, aesthetics, performing arts), given the recent ‘material turn’, the prosopographical dimension of the visual arts in Spain poses a disciplinary challenge. Similarly, following the ‘global turn’, the visual arts of Iberia pose a geographical challenge, intersecting with the Mediterranean, Arabic, Latin American, British and continental European worlds. The notions of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanish art’, therefore, are necessarily nebulous and problematic, raising a host of questions: To what extent does Spanish art exist before the establishment of Spain as a nation state? To what extent is the art of the Habsburg and Bourbon empires a Spanish art outside Spain? What is the role of Spain in the wider canon of European art? Who has exploited the visual arts of the Hispanic world, geographically, politically and intellectually? These questions ultimately point to a tension between canons and repertoires; between centres and peripheries; and between consolidating the ‘core’ and expanding the ‘remit’ of the so-called Spanish school.
This conference will explode the disciplinary, material and geographical limits of Spanish art, inaugurating the Zurbarán Centre as a critical and innovative research institution for the study of Spanish and Latin American art in the twenty-first century. Papers may challenge the canonical construction of Spanish art, which can be traced back to writings from Palomino’s Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors (1724) to Stirling Maxwell’s Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), to more recent publications by scholars in the field. Papers may also probe the chronological, geographical and material boundaries of the ‘El Greco to Goya’ survey, interrogating the ways in which academics, curators, scholars and teachers narrate this material through various platforms, including publications, museum displays, exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks and academic courses. Speakers are encouraged to address the various ‘terrains’ of Spanish art, from geographical constructions of Iberia as Europe’s frontier or edge, to exchange with all that lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:
What is ‘Spanish art’?
Who are the cultural stakeholders of Spanish art?
What are the discords between regional, national, anti-national and transnational narratives of Spanish art, for example in museum collections and displays?
How does Spanish art feature in diplomatic exchanges?
Collections of Spanish art as an ‘imprint’ of Spain, and the role of foreign collections in disseminating Spanish art as a distinct school
Spain at the intersection of Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures
Copies, quotations and appropriations of Spanish art
Languages and literatures: strategies of describing, narrating and translating Spain in word and image
Performing ‘Spanishness’ in the arts, including music, theatre and film
Spanish discourses in aesthetics
Spanish art beyond Iberia
Mobility and portability of Spanish art
Travel and discovery: geographies, centres, peripheries and liminal spaces
Legacies: textual and visual responses to Spain abroad
Eschewing binaries: high and low, sacred and secular, medieval and renaissance
Specialists of Spanish arts, artistic communication and exchange, as well as experts of other regions are invited to discuss the role and definition of Spain in their own disciplines. Presentations may be delivered in English or Spanish. Please send paper titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words, together with a CV and 150-word biography, to Dr Edward Payne by 31 March 2019: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously at the Prado, a monographic exhibition of some 48 works by Bartolomé Bermejo, one of Spain’s leading 15th-century painters, has recently re-opened at the MNAC in Barcelona. It will be on show until 19 May. Click here for more information.
To complement the exhibitions, two 50-minute lectures given at the Prado during the Bermejo exhibition are available on You Tube. The first lecture (click here) was given by Laura Alba, head of the Prado’s conservation studio, and Maite Jover. It focuses on Bermejo’s skilled technique. The second (click here) features the lead curator of the collaborative Prado/MNAC exhibition, Juan Molina of Gerona University.
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.
ARTES is a Registered Charity (no. 1112883) dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of Iberian and Latin American Visual Culture. You can support our work by becoming a member of our friendly, enthusiastic and international community.