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Solidity and Beauty. Miguel Blay at the Museo del Prado
Catalogue

Solidity and Beauty. Miguel Blay at the Museo del Prado

Solidity and Beauty Miguel Blay at the Museo del Prado

Museu de Mallorca. Madrid 4/19/2016 - 10/2/2016

To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Miguel Blay (Olot, 1866 – Madrid, 1936), one of the most important Spanish sculptors of the late 19th and first third of the 20th centuries, the Museo del Prado is holding an exhibition of drawings, medals, hand-written notes and key works within the artist’s oeuvre, including To the Ideal and Blooming. This material offers a vision of the different creative phases of Blay’s career, during which he aimed to transmit emotions, sincerity and beauty in a serene, harmonious manner.

Curator:
Leticia Azcue Brea, Senior Curator Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Museo Nacional del Prado.

Exhibition

Miguel Blay y Fábrega (Olot, 1866 – Madrid, 1936)

Trained in Paris, a city with which he remained closely associated, Blay earned recognition and honours both in Spain and abroad. In his native country he received the First Class Medal at the National Fine Arts Exhibition in 1882 and the Medal of Honour at that event in 1908, while in Paris he was awarded the Medal of Honour at the Universal Exhibition of 1900 and was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour in France in 1901. In Buenos Aires he received the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Art in 1910.

Blay moved to Madrid in 1906 where he was recognised as an outstanding sculptor and was made a member of the Royal San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts. He was also a professor at the Higher School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking in Madrid and between 1925 and 1932 was director of the Academia de España in Rome, the city where he had completed his early training.

Blay’s works are notable for their quality, elegance, restraint and naturalness, evident in both his official and private commissions (the latter including portraits of members of the nobility, the middle-classes and his own social circle), and in the public monuments he produced for Spain, France and various Latin-American countries, principally Argentina, to which he was particularly attached and for which he executed a number of works at the height of his career. Other large-scale commissions undertaken by Blay are to be seen in Santiago de Chile, Montevideo, Panama City and San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Miguel Blay produced admirable and important examples of the different trends within sculpture at this time. Maintaining an open approach, he evolved stylistically along a route that encompassed the modernista, symbolist, realist and naturalist aesthetics. The success of his career can be attributed to his outstanding talents for sculpture based on a solid grounding in drawing, as well as the efforts and dedication of a lifetime entirely devoted to his profession. Mariano Benlliure, the other great sculptor of this period, described Blay as “the prince of elegance and correctness.”

Artworks

Medal of the National Fine Arts Exhibition of 1915
8

Medal of the National Fine Arts Exhibition of 1915

Benlliure Gil, Mariano;Blay y Fábrega, Miguel

Minting

1915

Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

20

Miguel Blay’s diary

Miguel Blay y Fábrega

Hand-written. Bound in leather, 9.5 x 6.5 x 2 cm

1902

Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, Biblioteca, Ms/29

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