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Masks Schommer

Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 7/21/2014 - 9/14/2014

Masks is the title of an extensive series of photographic portraits created in the 1980s by Alberto Schommer. Depicting modern-day Spanish intellectuals, the series constitutes one of the most original and moving iconographical galleries of the twentieth century.

Its roll-call of sitters includes writers of various generations (Francisco Ayala, Vicente Aleixandre, Rafael Alberti, Camilo José Cela, Gabriel Celaya and Juan Benet), philosophers and historians (José Luis Aranguren and Julio Caro Baroja) and key figures from the world of the visual arts, film and music (Antonio Saura, Eduardo Chillida, Juana Mordó, Julio López, José Hernández and Antonio López).

Each of these frontal portraits makes use of the same typology, the historical origins of which date back to the sculpted busts of the great figures of classical antiquity and which found its later interpretation in the early modern age in the painted portraits and self-portraits of intellectuals and artists produced from the Renaissance onwards.

Access

Room C. Jerónimos Building

Opening time

Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm. Sunday and holidays from 10am to 7pm.

Organized by:
Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte
Museo Nacional del Prado
In collaboration with:
PHE14

Multimedia

Exhibition

Exhibition

Exhibition
Francisco Ayala, writer.
Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm. 1985
Alberto Schommer
VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

Masks, which pays tribute to this remarkable group of Spanish intellectuals, is now displayed at the Museo del Prado in a unique context, juxtaposed with a selection of portraits from the Museum’s collection painted by sixteenth- to early twentieth-century Spanish artists. As images of Spanish writers and artists, they reflect the same iconographical criterion and make use of similar compositional models.

In the case of Spain, the tradition of the frontal, bust-length portrait, located in a non-specific setting and directly lit, found one of its earliest and most original exponents in El Greco, who is also the subject of a major exhibition on the subject of his rediscovery in modern art. His portraits had an immediate effect on his contemporaries, including Luis de Morales and above all Diego Velázquez. With the passing of time they became a characteristic model assimilated and used by numerous Spanish painters until well into the twentieth century.

This continuation in Schommer’s Masks of an earlier tradition of painting allows for the creation of a unique portrait gallery that presents visitors with the reflexive and intense gaze of an imaginary Spanish literary and artistic Parnassus. While not aiming to be encyclopaedic in nature, it includes direct encounters between Juan de Ribera and José Luis Aranguren, Luis de Góngora and Vicente Aleixandre, Goya and Antonio Saura, Espronceda and Juan Benet, or the young Velázquez and Antonio López, among others.

Alberto Schommer

Alberto Schommer (born Vitoria, 1928) is one of Spain’s most important contemporary photographers. Schommer trained in Germany and Paris and his early years were associated with the most innovative trends in Spanish art in the 1960s and 1970s. Specialising in portraiture at an early date, his distinguished career earned him the National Photography Prize in 2013.

Artworks

1

Rafael Alberti, writer

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

2

Vicente Aleixandre, poet

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

3

José Luis L. Aranguren, philosopher

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

4

Francisco Ayala, writer

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

5

Julio Caro Baroja, anthropologist

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

6

Juan Benet, writer

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

7

Luis García Berlanga, filmmaker

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

8

Camilo José Cela, writer

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

9

Gabriel Celaya, poet

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

10

Eduardo Chillida, sculptor

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985© Alberto Schommer,

VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

11

José Hernández, painter

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

12

Luis de Pablo, musician

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

13

Antonio López, painter and sculptor

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

14

Julio López Hernández, sculptor

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

15

Juana Mordó, gallerist

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

16

Lucio Muñoz, sculptor

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

17

Antonio Saura, painter and writer

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

18

Pablo Serrano, sculptor

Photographic print on baryta coated paper, 40 x 30 cm 1985 © Alberto Schommer, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014

25

Alonso Cano

Anonymous artist Oil on canvas, 48 x 40 cm Ca. 1665 Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

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