Christ at home with Martha and Mary
Lupa
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The Triumph of Bacchus, or the Drinkers
Lupa
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The Spinners, or The Fable of Arachne
Lupa
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The Rape of Europe
Lupa
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As part of its inaugural programme marking the opening of the new extension, the Museo del Prado is presenting the exhibition Velázquez’ Fables, the first to offer an in-depth analysis of this aspect of the artist’s work as a painter of narratives. The exhibition brings together 27 works by the artist in addition to 24 by 17 other artists with the aim of revealing the context in which the artist executed some of his most important paintings. Among the works by Velázquez to be seen in the exhibition are 12 loans including The Rokeby Venus from the National Gallery in London, one of the artist’s most famous works no longer in Spain.

The 51 works in the exhibition depict a variety of subjects from biblical history, mythology and the classical world with the intention of focusing on Velázquez’ originality in his approach to such themes, his remarkable technical versatility and the development of his art over the course of a career spanning more than four decades. With this aim in mind, the 27 works by the painter are juxtaposed with a further 24 by various artists which allow for an appreciation of Velázquez’ response to external creative stimuli. Among the other artists in the exhibition are two sculptures by Martínez Montañés and Gregorio Fernández, paintings by earlier masters such as Titian and Caravaggio, and works by great Spanish painters of Velázquez’ own generation and the previous one such as El Greco, Ribera and Zurbarán. It also includes examples of work by the leading non-Spanish artists of the day with whom the artist was familiar and who in some cases influenced his own painting such as the Flemish painter Rubens, the French artists Poussin and Claude Lorraine and the Italians Guercino, Guido Reni and Massimo Stanzione.

The group of works on display by Velázquez comprises his sacred and mythological compositions now in the collection of the Prado as well as other important paintings on loan. The latter include Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, The Immaculate Conception and Saint John the Evangelist from the National Gallery in London; Saint Paul from the MNAC in Barcelona; The Supper at Emmaus from Dublin; Joseph’s blood-stained Coat brought to Jacob from El Escorial (which will be seen next to Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan); and The Temptation of Saint Thomas from Orihuela.

Among the works by other artists represented in the exhibition special mention should be made of Poussin’s The Triumph of David; Saint John the Baptist by Martínez Montañés; Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife by Guido Reni; Democritus by Ribera; The Immaculate Conception by Alonso Cano; and Rubens’ Heraclitus.

 
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