For the first time in Australia, the Museo del Prado is presenting three centuries of Spanish history through the works of its great masters
The Prado is presenting Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado in Brisbane. This exhibition is the result of the agreement reached last year with Art Exhibitions Australia (AEA), a non-profit making organisation responsible for the organisation of major exhibitions in Australian museums, and the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG), Brisbane. It is thus the latest in the Prado’s international exhibitions series, which benefits from the special collaboration of ACCIONA, one of the Museum’s Benefactor Members. The exhibition will include 100 works by the best artists represented in the Museum’s collection, including El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Goya and Sorolla. This is the first time that works of art from the Prado are travelling to Australia. Encompassing more than three centuries of art, the exhibition will be shown at one of the country’s leading museums, the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, from 21 July to 4 November.
Friday 20 July 2012
The present exhibition, for which the academic director is Javier Portús, Chief Curator of Spanish Painting up to 1700 at the Museo del Prado, will offer the Australian public the first opportunity to see a survey of Spanish art and history from the 16th to the early 20th centuries through seventy-nine paintings and twenty-two works on paper from the Prado’s collections. This is the first major exhibition of Spanish art ever to be held in Australia.
The exhibition, which is the latest in the “International Prado” series, will allow the Museum to act as special ambassador to Spain in Australia. On this occasion the project has been promoted by the AEA, which has been responsible for presenting major exhibitions in Australia from other European institutions including the Tate Gallery , London, the Musée du Louvre, Musée Picasso and Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, in addition to leading US museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), both in New York.
Following its presentation in Brisbane, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts de Houston, Houston, to be shown beginning December 16, 2012.
Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado will present visitors with a reflection on the development of painting in Spain over the course of more than three centuries and on the internal and external factors that influenced it.
In order to explain this artistic evolution the exhibition will take the form of a chronological display of one hundred and one works. It opens with the portrait of Doña Juana of Austria (1560) by Anthonis Mor and continues with key paintings within the oeuvres of Titian and Ribera, such as Christ carrying the Cross (ca.1565) and Democritus (1630), respectively. There will also be a comprehensive selection of twenty-two prints from Goya’s series Los Caprichos, Los Desastres de la Guerra and Los Disparates, while the exhibition concludes with one of Sorolla’s most characteristic paintings, María Figueroa as a young Girl, dressed as a Menina (1901) and with Eduardo Rosales’s celebrated Female Nude (getting out of the Bath) of the same date. Finally, the exhibition includes an example of Spanish landscape painting, The Wall at El Pardo (1911) by Aureliano de Beruete, a follower of Carlos de Haes.
Structured into three principal sections, the exhibition sets out to present the history of Spanish painting, emphasising the political, social and artistic factors involved. The first section corresponds in political terms with the period of the Ancien Régime and artistically with the so-called Spanish Golden Age. The second section encompasses the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century, a “critical” period characterised by significant changes of attitudes, political organisation and forms of social relations. The final section covers the last fifty years of the nineteenth century, a period that saw the birth of modern Spain.