Painting from the Viceroyalties. Shared Identities in the Hispanic World

To mark the Bicentenary of the Independence movements in the South American republics, Fomento Cultual Banamex, Patrimonio Nacional, the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales (SECC) are presenting the exhibition Painting from the Viceroyalties. Featuring more than 100 works, it offers a visual reflection through the language of painting of the cultural relationship between Europe, in particular Spain, and the South American viceroyalties in the 16th and 17th centuries. The exhibition, curated by Jonathan Brown, is jointly held at the Palacio Real in Madrid and the Museo del Prado from 26 October 2010 to 30 January 2011. It will subsequently be shown in Mexico City at the Palacio de Cultura Banamex (Palacio de Iturbide) from 2 March to 30 June 2011.

Monday 25 October 2010

The exhibition will include works made in Spain for the South American market, paintings by European artists working in Nueva España and Peru, paintings by artists born in South America and works made in Europe for a European public but which function to define a frame of reference for the activities of artists working for the viceroyalties.

The scholarly argument of the exhibition will allow for a better understanding of painting from Nueva España and the Viceroyalty of Peru. It is organised into sections that analyse the professional context of artistic production, stylistic development and iconographic issues with the intention of offering a complete vision of origins and influences and of the levels of quality and originality achieved within this chapter of the history of western art.

The exhibition aims to bring the European public closer to an area of 16th- and 17th-century painting that has generally been excluded from the art historical literature on painting, while demonstrating to what degree the Spanish monarchy was a motor for artistic and intellectual stimulus. In addition, it will assist in a better understanding of South American painting, opening up new research paths and offering a clearer explanation of the role of Spain with regard to its capacity to create cultural processes within its territories.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Madrid is the principal venue of the exhibition and as such will display most of the works (83), divided into three thematic sections.

The first part looks at the “formation of a shared language”, in other words, how Spanish painting evolved in the 16th and 17th centuries, marked by the prevailing influence of Italian and Flemish art. This first section includes works by Berruguete, Juan de Juanes, Zurbarán, and Francisco Rizzi (The Immaculate Conception), among others.

The second part looks at the transmission of this pictorial language to Nueva España and the Viceroyalty of Peru. This transmission came about through European masters who went to the South American viceroyalties and worked there for part of their careers, including Angelino Medoro and Andrés de La Concha.

The third and largest section is devoted to shared identities and their local variants, in other words, the coincidences within this pictorial language and the particular, differentiating characteristics that evolved in each region. The intention is to encounter our points of connection rather than our differences, and with this aim in mind this section includes several series of works by painters from both sides of the Atlantic that use the same subject matter including Virgins, Crucifixions, Adorations, archangels, portraits, scenes related to the Conquest, etc. Numerous artists fall within this category, notably Rubens, Juan Carreño de Miranda, Cristóbal de Villalpando, Juan Correa or Baltasar de Echave Ibía.

At the Palacio Real exhibition, the scholarly coordinator has been Carmen García-Frías, Curator of Ancient Painting of Patrimonio Nacional.

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