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Boletín del Museo del Prado

Latest boletín

NUMBER 51 | 2015

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 number contains the following articles:

The Várez Fisa Alfarje: Relevant Background Information

Fernando Gutiérrez Baños

In 2013 the entrepreneur José Luis Várez Fisa (1928–2014) donated to the Museo del Prado several outstanding works of art dating from the Medieval and Early Renaissance periods, including a richly painted Castilian Gothic alfarje, or flat wooden ceiling, from his private collection. The alfarje was said to have come from the demolished church of Santa Marina in Valencia de Don Juan (León). In this article, detailed research into the origins of the roof and its structural features leads to the conclusion that it is in fact a product of the antiquarian market, made from genuine painted beams dating from various periods and hailing from different locations, to satisfy the interest of twentieth-century art collectors in such works.

On Art and Architecture: The Hall of Mirrors in the Alcázar of Madrid

José Manuel Barbeito

This paper examines the close relationship that exists between the architectural layout of the Hall of Mirrors in the Madrid Alcázar and the spatial arrangement of works of art within it. Velázquez and Rubens refined the decoration of this room, where some of the most valuable paintings from the Royal Collections were exhibited before the building was destroyed by fire in 1734.

Pedro Núñez del Valle: Noli me tangere

Leticia Ruiz Gómez

Between 1613 and 1624 the Madrid-born artist Pedro Núñez del Valle trained in Rome, where he developed a style and technique similar to those of other Baroque painters such as Bartolomeo Cavarozzi and Francesco Buoneri (Cecco da Caravaggio). This essay sets down the reasons for the incorporation of a Noli me tangere in the Museo del Prado – a painting previously considered to be by an anonymous author – to Núñez del Valle’s scant body of known work.

A New Attribution to Giuliano Finelli: The Pseudo-Seneca in the Museo del Prado

Giacomo Montanari

The Museo del Prado houses a magnificent Baroque bust carved from Carrara marble. Closely related to Rubens’ models of Pseudo-Seneca, which in turn derived from the classical works which the Flemish painter had admired in Italy, the Prado head contributes to our understanding of the artistic production of one of the most talented and imaginative Baroque sculptors, Giuliano Finelli from Carrara. Together with Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Finelli, who worked between Rome and Naples, contributed to revolutionise the marble portrait in the early decades of the seventeenth century.

Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo’s View of Zaragoza: Notes Following its Restoration

Javier Portús, Jaime García-Máiquez and María Álvarez Garcillán

The recent restoration of Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo’s View of Zaragoza has brought to light new information on the material history of the painting, making it possible to gain a deeper understanding of it. This article enumerates the problems posed by the restoration and the solutions that were adopted. It also presents new facts and theories, mainly related to the original aspect of the painting, the order of its formal reading and its narrative, the identity of some of its figures, the changes it has undergone over time and its unique technique.

Mengs’ portrait of the Jesuit priest Francesco Pepe

Gudrun Maurer

In 1927 Sánchez Cantón published a portrait by Anton Raphael Mengs which he titled Fray Joaquín de Eleta (Museo del Prado) and dated to about 1775, thereby giving rise to the idea of a close relationship between Charles III’s Franciscan confessor and the first court painter to the King. The inscription on a print that represents the same character has made it possible to rectify this error and to identify the sitter as the Jesuit Father Francesco Pepe (about 1684–1759). This priest, an influential preacher in Naples, coincided with Mengs only once in Rome in 1758, the year this portrait was commissioned. This paper also analyses the technical documentation and origins of the painting, and traces the history of the change of the sitter’s identity.

New Findings Concerning the Cartoons for the Tapestries of Charles III’s Bedroom in the New Royal Palace in Madrid

Jesús López Ortega

This essay presents the findings of the study, analysis and interpretation of new photographic material in the database of the Museo del Prado concerning the cartoons made by the painters Guillermo Anglois and José del Castillo for the tapestries of King Charles III’s bedroom, a project accomplished under the direction of Anton Raphael Mengs and Francesco Sabatini. This information has enabled us to unravel the story of, and to correct many of the misconceptions about one of the most sumptuous and most finely executed tapestry series in the Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Barbara in the eighteenth century.

Frames, Furnishings and Woods: Woodwork, Cabinetmaking and Framing in the Museo del Prado (1818–38)

Silvia Castillo Álvarez

The wood craftsmen who worked for the Real Museo de Pinturas during its initial stages contributed decisively to the consolidation of the institution’s museographic design. Their crucial involvement in the tasks of framing and gilding had its heyday between 1826 and 1838, under the directorship of the Duke of Híjar. A study of the ample documentation that exists on this period (in the Archivo General de Palacio), together with an analysis of the frames which today adorn many of the masterpieces in the museum, allow us to reconstruct the origins of framing in the Museo del Prado and to trace the names of the craftsmen who constructed these pieces.

The Museo de la Trinidad: the Conservation Workshop and its Professionals

María Concepción García Cabarcos y Felicitas Martínez Pozuelo

This paper highlights the continuous interest shown by the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the Spanish Government and the Directors of the Museo de la Trinidad in providing the museum with the professionals needed for the adequate conservation, restoration and display of its collections. It offers a brief presentation of the early stages and the subsequent development of the Conservation workshop, its staff members, their tenures and the access system. An analysis of the profile of the institution’s conservators helps to update and enrich the history of the Museo de la Trinidad.

Justo de Gandarias, Sculptor of the 1886 bronze group, Alfonso XII on Horseback, Traditionally Attributed to Mariano Benlliure

Leticia Azcue Brea

The sculpture of Alfonso XII on Horseback cast in 1886 by the Compañía Metalúrgica de San Juan de Alcaraz in Riópar, Albacete, has traditionally been attributed to Mariano Benlliure and linked to the project undertaken by this sculptor in Madrid’s Buen Retiro Park in 1902. A detailed study of its style, together with an in-depth analysis of the documentation of the time, has helped to clarify the true reason behind its creation and its vicissitudes, and has helped to identify its real author, the sculptor Justo de Gandarias y Planzón (1846–1933), rescuing him from the unfair oblivion into which he had fallen as a result of his departure to Guatemala.

El Prado Disperso. Obras depositadas en las embajadas de Berna, Estocolmo, La Haya, Londres, Moscú, Rabat y Viena y en el consulado de Tánger