The addition of this donation to the Museum’s holdings fill some of the gaps in this part of the Prado’s collection and enrich and complement other styles and artists already represented. As stipulated in the terms of the agreement, the works will be shown in a gallery named the Várez Fisa Gallery in acknowledgement of the donors’ generosity. This gallery will be located within the new display of Spanish painting from the Romanesque period to the Renaissance. The Museum’s Trustees have commissioned its design and installation from Rafael Moneo, the architect of the Prado’s extension and a Trustee of the Museum. Also on display in this space will be the Saint Christopher Altarpiece, donated by José Luis Várez Fisa in 1970, and Lluís Borrassá’s panel of Saint Andrew refuses to worship Idols, acquired by the Spanish State from the same collection.
Particularly outstanding within this donation is the central panel of the altarpiece for the high altar of the church of Santa María in Tobed (Zaragoza), The Virgin of Tobed (ca.1359-1362). Attributed to Jaume Serra, it is an historically important work in addition to its aesthetic merit as the donor depicted is the future Henry II, who was the first Castilian monarch of the Trastamara dynasty and also acceded to the crown of Aragon in 1412.
The three Romanesque paintings from Catalonia and Castile and dating from the early 13th century complete an area of the Prado’s collection that has not been sufficiently well represented until now, particularly with regard to panel paintings. These two altar frontals, from Sollalong (Ripoll) by the Master of Lluça, and from Arnedeillo (La Rioja), are of finer quality than the frontal from Guils already present in the collection. In addition, the mural painting from Sant Esteve in Andorra will add the first example of Pyrenean Romanesque painting to the Museum’s Castilian examples from Maderuelo and from San Baudelio in Berlanga de Duero.
Italo-Gothic and International Gothic painting are the two areas most enriched by this donation. The most significant contribution is The Virgin of Tobed, which includes depiction of Henry II Trastamara, his wife and their children. This is a major example of the Catalan Italo-Gothic style and the highlight of this donation. The altarpiece by the Master of Torralba, an International Gothic artist active in Aragon in the early 15th century, has the additional merit of being almost complete and very well preserved.
Hispano-Flemish painting is also enriched with the addition of Saint Anthony Abbot by Joan Reixach, which complements the representation of Valencian Hispano-Flemish painting in the Museum, already represented by the Triptych with Episodes from the Life of Christ by Louis Alincbrot, a Bruges-born master who worked in Valencia. The presence of the Hispano-Flemish school in the Museum’s collection is further enhanced by a late work by Diego de Cruz, one of the most important Castilian painters.
Early Renaissance painting is represented in this donation by two panels by Pedro Berruguete of The Fathers of the Church, which will join those already present in the Prado, thus offering an outstanding representation of a highly important facet of the work of this painter and one that relates to his Urbino period, which was not previously represented in the Museum.
Sculpture expands its presence through two works in this donation. The early Gothic Altarpiece of Saint John the Baptist is extremely rare and well preserved. Attributed to Gil de Siloe, The Virgin enthroned with the Infant Christ is almost identical to the one in the Charterhouse at Miraflores. This is another important addition as Siloe was one of the leading names within 15th-century European sculptures.
The great carved wooden ceiling of around 1350 from Valencia de Don Juan (Leon) is a unique object measuring 11 x 6 metres. It will be installed above the works donated by José Luis Várez Fisa in the gallery devoted to his collection.