On the Trail of El Greco Reply

El Greco Spain

Mary Tompkins Lewis writes for the Wall Street Journal–Spain is awash with commemorations of the fourth centenary of the death of its adopted son, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the artist better known as El Greco. An exhibition at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, “El Greco’s Library,” on view through June 29, explores the relationship between the texts El Greco collected and his own erudite art. This summer, “El Greco and Modern Painting,” also at the Prado (from June 24 through Oct. 5), will chart the painter’s rediscovery in the 19th century and his influence on vanguard artists from Edouard Manet to Francis Bacon and beyond.

More…

Deconstructing Albrecht Dürer’s Adam and Eve Reply

Dürer's Adam Eve

Spanish multidisciplinary artist, Paloma Navares, comments on Adam and Eve, Albrecht Dürer’s recently-restored oil painting in the Prado Museum. Her discourse is both about  his work and her own creative interpretation of it. Dürer, the painter and engraver, was also a mathematician and an expert in geometry. Perhaps it was that fact that inspired him to transgress the prevailing 8-heads tradition of his time in his Adam and Eve painting, adding a ninth to make his figures more slender. At the end of her presentation Navares makes an interesting point:

More…

Spooky Night in the Prado Museum Reply

Rafael La Perla

This engaging 16-minute video is an interview with Spanish writer, Javier Sierra, on an eerie midnight stroll through the galleries of the Prado Museum with presenter, Iker Jiménez. They start out with Rafael’s Sacred Family (Sagrada Familia), known familiarly as The Pearl (La Perla). According to Sierra there’s something mysterious about this painting, as well as others in the museum. The baby Jesus seems to be looking in the wrong direction. What (or whom) is he looking at? It’s a mystery. There are others, such as The Triumph of Death (El triunfo de la muerte) by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. More…

Spanish Artist/Curator Has Some Fun with the Classics at the Prado Reply

Dolphin Venus Prado

“We’re in the most aquatic room in the Prado,” says Spanish artist, Miguel Angel Blanco, in his introduction to  Natural Histories, the exhibition he curated, on show in the Prado Museum until April 27, 2014. In this three-minute video he comments on the Roman sculpture The Venus of the Dolphin (La Venus del Delfín). The skeleton of a dolphin, lit so as to cast a shadow on the side wall, suspends from the ceiling of the exhibit hall, about which Blanco comments: “It’s not clear if it’s a skeleton or a sculpture…” In all it’s a fascinating and fun show. Don’t miss it if you’re in the vicinity of the Prado this spring.

More…

The Furies: Political Allegory and Artistic Defiance Reply

The Furies

This exhibition in the Prado Museum (Jan. 21-May 4, 2014) consists of some twenty works by different artists whose protagonists are the “Furies”, four characters from classic mythology who had an important presence in 16th and 17th century European art. Tityus, Sisyphus, Ixion and Tantalus are the “Furies,” characters of mythological origin that became increasingly important in the Renaissance. Their emergence as such in the history of art is dated around the middle of the 16th century. In the Netherlands and Italy, they were considered a suitable theme for illustrating both maximum difficulty in art (they were monumental, nude, muscled figures in complicated poses); and for representing extreme pain, a subject very relevant to baroque sensitivity. More…

Curious French Virgin, Chubby Child and Sinister Angels Reply

Fouquet Madonna Prado

From Museo del Prado.es–Etienne Chevalier, treasurer to the French monarchs Charles VII and Louis XI, commissioned a diptych from Jean Fouquet which remained in the collegiate church of Notre-Dame in Melun until it was split up in the late 18th century. The left-hand panel, now in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie, depicts Chevalier kneeling and accompanied by his patron saint Stephen. More…

Stunning Sorolla Exhibit at Meadows Museum in Dallas Includes Symposium Reply

Sorolla Valencia Beach

By Michael Granberry, the Dallas News, February 6, 2014–The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University expands the focus of its stunning Joaquin Sorolla exhibition by hosting an international symposium dealing with the artist’s work. More…

Madrid Artist Miguel Ángel Blanco Takes Prado Back to Its Origins Reply

Natural Histories PradoThe Prado Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time as the Museo Nacional de Pinturas y Esculturas [National Museum of Paintings and Sculptures] on 19 November 1819. However, the Neo-classical building designed by Juan de Villanueva that now houses the Prado was originally the home of the Natural History Collection, commissioned by Charles III in 1785. On the 194th anniversary of the Museum’s founding and to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the death of Villanueva, this project by Miguel Ángel Blanco now pays homage to the Prado’s history and to the little known origins of its building as a Natural History museum. More…

Commented Works in the Prado: “The Senses” by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder Reply

Senses Bruegel Rubens

As part of the recently closed exhibition in the Prado Museum, “Enclosed Beauty. From Fra Angelico to Fortuny,” Alejandro Vergara, the conservation chief of Flemish painting and the northern schools in the Prado, comments the five curious paintings composing “The Senses” (1617-18), painted jointly by two illustrious friends: Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder, son of Pieter Bruegel. This painting (“Allegory of Sight”) was in part an homage to the Hapsburg Archdukes reigning in the Burgundian court of Flanders at the time (seen in the double portrait at the extreme left of the painting). More…

Prado Restores Goya Drawings Reply

A Peek Inside the Prado Museum’s Paper Restoration Workshop

Goya Aun AprendoJose Manuel Matilla, chief of the Prado’s department of drawings and prints, gives us some insight into the restoration of Francisco de Goya’s “Caprichos amarillos” (a reference used internally that you will not find published), fourteen preliminary drawings for his “Caprichos” etchings portfolio. These were unburdened of the layer of yellow starch varnish applied to them at the beginning of the 20th century, and the paper was reconditioned, rehumidified and flattened. A bonus is the explanation of the work done on one of the artist’s most iconic drawings, “Aún aprendo,” “I’m still learning,” one of Goya’s last drawings made during his final years of merciful exile in Bordeaux. The restoration was based on a photograph of the drawing in its original condition.

More…