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Boletín del Museo del Prado

Latest boletín

NUMBER 55-57 | 2019-21

The Museo del Prado publishes a new issue of the Boletín del Museo del Prado. This is an important publication that serves to present to the academic community and the general public the outcome of new research on works in its collections and on related topics in the field of Art History, as well as on the history of the Museum.

This triple number of the Boletin contains the following articles:

A historical graffito in the Museo del Prado from the hermitage of San Baudelio

José Miguel Lorenzo Arribas

Sumario: In 1923, three years before the mural paintings in the hermitage of San Baudelio (Casillas de Berlanga, Soria) were removed in shocking fashion, a historical graffito inscribed over one of the animals in the famous Hare Hunt scene was photographed. Owing to the paintings’ removal, the graffiti was believed to be destroyed. However, despite their journey to the United States (previously transferred to canvas) and their subsequent return to Spain, the graffito remains visible in the Museo del Prado. This paper examines the significance of this roboratio and the circumstances of its conservation.

Palabras clave: historical graffiti; Romanesque; Casillas de Berlanga; Soria; epigraphy; palaeography

From Sicily to the Prado: the long journey of Antonello da Messina’s Dead Christ supported by an Angel

Pablo Ordás Díaz

Sumario: The main objective of this article is to trace Antonello da Messina’s Dead Christ Supported by an Angel from the first reference to it back in the seventeenth century until it was incorporated into the permanent collection of the Museo del Prado in 1965. Revolving around Antonello’s painting, the article will explore diplomacy in Naples during the Spanish viceroy and female devotional practices in the Spanish Golden Age as well as the museum’s acquisition process and research conducted by Xavier de Salas to unmask the real painter behind the panel, which until then had been attributed to Cima da Conegliano.

Palabras clave: Antonello; Dead Christ; collections; Dürer; acquisitions

The impact of the spalliere illustrating the Story of Nastagio degli Onesti by Sandro Botticelli

Alexandre Vico

Sumario: The spalliere depicting the Story of Nastagio degli Onesti are a fascinating example of the influence exerted by Sandro Botticelli’s paintings in Italian Renaissance art. They served as inspiration for the two panels commissioned by the Del Nero family in 1485 that are currently in the Brooklyn Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Later on, due to fervour among English collectors in the late-nineteenth century, both sets of paintings were purchased by foreign buyers and some of the pieces where exhibited in London, not without controversy and mistaken accreditation. Botticelli as a painter was admired by English high society and imitated by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. However, the novella of The Decameron provoked negative reactions to the point that certain parts of the paintings representing the theme were censored or effaced.

Palabras clave: Botticelli; Nastagio degli Onesti; Decameron; spalliere; Brooklyn Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art

Other perspectives on the Dauphin’s Treasure: Review and new proposals of provenance and authorship

Leticia Arbeteta Mira

Sumario: The so-called Treasure of the Dolphin consists in a selection of precious stones vases sent by Louis XIV to his grandson Felipe V of Spain as part of the inheritance of his father Louis, Grand Dauphin of France and heir to the French crown, who died in 1711. Although small compared to others, it is one of the few historical collections of this genre in the world. This article focuses on some new information regarding the origin of the gems that comprise it and various attributions which have already been incorporated into the new presentation of the Treasury but are not yet published. There is also a review with new proposals.

Palabras clave: Idar-Oberstein; Louvre; LouisXIV; Louis le Grand Dauphin; François I Roberday; Pierre Delabarre; Jean Vangrol; Josias Belle; Mannerist and Baroque goldsmith; enamel

Delfín On the identification of stone materials in the Dauphin’s Treasure

Sonia Tortajada

Sumario: The Dauphin’s Treasure collection features a wide variety of exceptionally beautiful stone materials, from so-called decorative rocks, such as jasper, to precious stones themselves, such as diamonds and rubies. Early on in the initial phases of the comprehensive review of the collection, the need to establish updated and systematic terminology to properly classify the stone materials present in the collection became evident, since there was considerable terminological confusion. To this effect, existing records were studied and the pieces and their properties were examined in order to elaborate a glossary of terms combining scientific, historical and artistic aspects.

Palabras clave: gemology; stone materials; Dauphin’s Treasure

Ladies-in-Waiting and Portraiture at Philip II’s Court: Portraits of the Habsburgs and «Unknown Lady» in the Museo del Prado

Vanessa De Cruz Medina

Sumario: This article focuses on ladies-in-waiting and portraiture at Philip II’s court and provides further information about four portraits in the collection of the Prado Museum. It explores two understudied areas of women and portraiture such as agency and reception through the private correspondence of Margarita de Cardona and her daughters, ladies-in-waiting to Habsburg women. Their letters show how ladies-in-waiting were portrayed inside the royal palace, how they self-fashioned, the portraits they saw and their thoughts about them. The letters also reveal how some of them learned to paint in order to portray other ladies-in-waiting as well as themselves.

Palabras clave: portraiture; ladies-in-waiting; agency; reception; sixteenth century

Clarifications on Italian seventeenth-century painting in the Prado: Giuseppe Di Guido and Pasquale Chiesa

Giuseppe Porzio

Sumario: This article contributes to the study of Neapolitan painting in the seventeenth century by discussing the attribution of two paintings in the storerooms of the Museo del Prado: a Head of a Saint, probably St Peter (P-5402), here attributed to Giuseppe Di Guido, a robust personality of precocious naturalistic extraction, also sensitive to the lessons of Ribera; and a Battle traditionally attributed to Aniello Falcone (P-139), here assigned to Pasquale Chiesa, a painter of Genoese origin—but with a figurative background steeped in Neapolitan elements—of which little is known, active in Rome in the mid-seventeenth century.

Palabras clave: Seventeenth century; Neapolitan painting; Roman painting; naturalism; Giuseppe Di Guido; Pasquale Chiesa

A Bust of Apollo in the Museo del Prado reminiscent of Algardi’s terracotta creations

Fernando Loffredo

Sumario: A white marble bust in the Museo del Prado, heretofore never seen, has all the features of an Apollo. This article aims to demonstrate, however, that its head is a replica of Alessandro Algardi’s terracotta model of an angel—currently in Hamburg’s Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe—which he made for the statue of Saint Philip Neri in Rome. This new evidence will be discussed in regard to mention of a bust of Apollo by Algardi, the whereabouts of which are unknown, in the late-eighteenth century inventories of the Doccia porcelain manufactory in Florence.

Palabras clave: Algardi; terracotta models; Saint Philip Neri; Doccia manufactory

Manufacturer markings as a dating tool for seventeenth-century Flemish panel paintings in the Museo del Prado collection

Maite Jover De Celis

Sumario: The manufacture of wooden supports for paintings in Flemish cities in the seventeenth century was a highly-specialised profession regulated by the Guild of St Luke. Among the abundant archival information preserved in relation to this matter, one document registered in Antwerp in December 1617 particularly stands out. It establishes a series of rules regarding the level of quality of the supports, the inspection system to approve their sale and the requirement of marking the supports with a particular brand. Biographical data related to manufacturers, together with the different types of branding irons, constitute valuable information regarding the time of creation of a painting, allowing it to be dated to a specific period in the seventeenth century. Several markings have been located in the Museo del Prado’s collection that are published for the first time in this article, relating them to the attribution of the paintings.

Palabras clave: panel painting; markings; Guild of St Luke; Antwerp

The testament and estate of Pablo de Valladolid: a new way of looking at his life

José Luis Cueto Martínez-Pontrémuli

Sumario: This paper presents unpublished documents concerning the testament and estate of Pablo de Valladolid, as well as the results of research carried out based on this new evidence. The text examines the life of the jester from a different perspective to that of traditional historiography, identifying the years 1632–33 as a turning point in his biography, marked by his marriage to Beatriz de Villagrá and his appointment to serve the king. Based on these unpublished records, his economic situation and professional and social status are studied.

Palabras clave: Pablo de Valladolid; Beatriz de Villagrá; testament and estate; Archivo Histórico de Protocolos de Madrid; Archivo General de Palacio; Velázquez

Notes on the early work of the painter Cosme Algarra in Toledo

Adolfo De Mingo Lorente

Sumario: These notes contribute to a better understanding of the early work of the Albacete-born painter Cosme Algarra, of which little was known until he joined the workshop of José Aparicio and his subsequent travels through France and England. Today we know that he spent five years in Toledo, during which he was a professor at the Escuela de Nobles Artes de Santa Isabel. He coincided during this period with Toledan artists such as Blas Crespo, who would later become the second chief architect of the Royal Palace, and Cecilio Pizarro, painter and curator of the Museo de la Trinidad, of which Algarra himself would be the last director before the institution was integrated into the Museo del Prado.

Palabras clave: Nineteenth century; Escuela de Nobles Artes de Santa Isabel de Toledo; Museo de la Trinidad; Museo del Prado

From the Salons to the New York exhibitions and auctions in the Nineteenth-century. The case of Ignacio León y Escosura

Marinella Pigozzi

Sumario: The role played by salons, exhibitions, art dealers and critics in the dissemination of a nostalgic taste has recently begun to be examined. Paris, London and Rome were cities where every year operators of all kinds imported, restored, produced, sold or exported thousands of works, ancient, modern and contemporary, to Europe and the dynamic cities of the United States, including fake masterpieces meant for the most important collectors. In this article, we focus on the activity of the painter from Oviedo Ignacio León y Escosura, his connections with art dealers and his role as a disseminator of Spanish art. Furthermore, it corrects some errors related to his work and to the forge of fake artworks due to his connection with the Marcy family.

Palabras clave: Art market; Nineteenth century; Madrid; Paris; London; Rome; New York; Ignacio León y Escosura; Art dealers

A sculpture by John Henry Foley in Spain: Charles Bennet Lawes as a victorious athlete in repose

Leticia Azcue Brea

Sumario: Since 1988, the Prado Museum has owned the only known sculpture by John Henry Foley in Spain, a portrait from around 1872 of Charles Lawes, who years later would become Sir Charles Lawes-Wittewronge. He is represented life-size, full body, naked, like a victorious athlete in repose, as an exceptional sportsman who had won innumerable awards. The statue does not appear in any study of Foley’s works and is only mentioned in a small biography from 1912 printed in London. This article provides unpublished textual and photographic documentation, found with the collaboration of Roger Plumb, about the commission and execution, and it analyses the possible vicissitudes of its history and its characteristics.

Palabras clave: John Henry Foley; Charles Bennet Lawes; Sir Charles Lawes-Wittewronge; Rothamsted Manor-Hertfordshire; nineteenth-century Irish sculpture, nineteenth-century British sculpture

Cecilio Pla and his relationship with photography

Beatriz Sánchez Torija

Sumario: Throughout his lifetime Cecilio Pla amassed a collection of photographs that have since arrived at the Museo del Prado thanks to the donation made in 2018 by the Ellacuria Delgado family, descendants of the painter. The photographs are fascinating since they allow us to journey through the artist’s life by means of various portraits and scenes from family life. Above all, however, they also offer insight into his pictorial output, his work in the studio and development of his teaching practice. The images preserved in Pla’s personal archive reveal the special attention the artist paid to photography.

Palabras clave: Cecilio Pla; photography; amateur photographer; stereoscopic photography

The role of Pedro Muguruza’s staircases in the evolution of the Villanueva building

Vanesa García Alcocer

Sumario: This article is an architectural survey from the founding of the Museum to the first half of the twentieth century. It studies the parallel evolution of the building and its collection, focusing on the refurbishment and construction of the staircases built by the architect Pedro Muguruza between 1925 and 1943. It is based on the project’s documentation and the photographs of the actions undertaken. The aim is to examine the new requirements that resulted into the update of the original configuration of the Villanueva building, as well as to highlight the consequences of these key interventions on the evolution of the Museum.

Palabras clave: architecture conservation and restoration; Villanueva building; Pedro Muguruza; staircase; communication core; project; reform; Prado Museum

‘Death before discussion’. On the historical attributions of early Dutch painting in the Museo del Prado collection (1912–33)

José Juan Pérez Preciado

Sumario: The period that began with the creation of the Board of Trustees in 1912 is one of the most important moments in the history of the Museo del Prado, during which the most assertive attempt was made to research the early Netherlandish painting in its collection. Impetus on the part of the Board to catalogue the works in a modern, concise and justified manner was reflected in the creation of a commission to review the catalogue, which initiated an arduous examination of modern bibliography, at a pivotal moment in international studies on the subject. The Board also turned to the opinion of experts, who on their visits to the Prado commented on the attribution of the artworks, although their views are still in many cases considered dubious. These efforts, which were presented in the new 1933 catalogue, generated a large amount of documentation that is conserved in the museum’s archive, among which the contributions of Max Friedländer, used to justify attributions that in many cases still prevail, particularly stand out.

Palabras clave: Netherlandish painting; Museo del Prado; historical attributions; Max Friedländer; experts