Introduction

 

Original location in the cathedral. Altarpiece of the Marshal’s Chapel, Seville cathedral

After restoration

Following a lengthy and complex process of restoration undertaken in the Prado’s conservation studios, the Museum is temporarily displaying in Room 56B (until 15 March) one of the most important Renaissance paintings executed in Spain: The Purification of the Virgin in the Temple of 1556 by the Flemish artist Peeter de Kempeneer (known in Spain as Pedro de Campaña). Designed for Seville cathedral as the central element in the Altarpiece of Marshal Diego Caballero, this monumental work is a perfect example of the influence of Dürer and Raphael on Campaña’s style.

Pedro de Campaña (Brussels 1503-1587) arrived in Seville in 1537, by which date he was already a fully trained master and had spent time in Italy. He remained in Seville for twenty years, undertaking major commissions, of which the one for the cathedral was among the most highly esteemed and praised.

The Purification is a complex composition that is partly based on a print by Dürer, particularly with regard to the monumental conception of the pictorial space in which the artist located an elegant, sinuous group of figures that are closely related to the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. Due to its extremely large size, the painting was executed on 14 oak panels attached together horizontally. This unusual method of construction led to continual conservation problems and made it necessary to undertake the complex process of restoration that has recently been completed by experts at the Museo del Prado.

The room in which the painting is temporarily displayed in the Museum has text panels explaining the nature of the painting and its recent restoration. In the same room visitors can also see a visual projection of the various stages of the restoration process that took place in the Museum’s conservation studios.

 
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