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Painting from the Viceroyalties. Shared Identities in the Hispanic World Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To mark the Bicentenary of the Independence movements in the South American republics, Fomento Cultual Banamex, Patrimonio Nacional, the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales (SECC) are presenting the exhibition Painting from the Viceroyalties. Featuring more than 100 works, it offers a visual reflection through the language of painting of the cultural relationship between Europe, in particular Spain, and the South American viceroyalties in the 16th and 17th centuries. The exhibition, curated by Jonathan Brown, is jointly held at the Palacio Real in Madrid and the Museo del Prado from 26 October 2010 to 30 January 2011. It will subsequently be shown in Mexico City at the Palacio de Cultura Banamex (Palacio de Iturbide) from 2 March to 30 June 2011. 

Painting from the Viceroyalties. Shared Identities in the Hispanic World

The exhibition will include works made in Spain for the South American market, paintings by European artists working in Nueva España and Peru, paintings by artists born in South America and works made in Europe for a European public but which function to define a frame of reference for the activities of artists working for the viceroyalties.

The scholarly argument of the exhibition will allow for a better understanding of painting from Nueva España and the Viceroyalty of Peru. It is organised into sections that analyse the professional context of artistic production, stylistic development and iconographic issues with the intention of offering a complete vision of origins and influences and of the levels of quality and originality achieved within this chapter of the history of western art.

The exhibition aims to bring the European public closer to an area of 16th- and 17th-century painting that has generally been excluded from the art historical literature on painting, while demonstrating to what degree the Spanish monarchy was a motor for artistic and intellectual stimulus. In addition, it will assist in a better understanding of South American painting, opening up new research paths and offering a clearer explanation of the role of Spain with regard to its capacity to create cultural processes within its territories.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Madrid is the principal venue of the exhibition and as such will display most of the works (83), divided into three thematic sections.

The first part looks at the “formation of a shared language”, in other words, how Spanish painting evolved in the 16th and 17th centuries, marked by the prevailing influence of Italian and Flemish art. This first section includes works by Berruguete, Juan de Juanes, Zurbarán, and Francisco Rizzi (The Immaculate Conception), among others.

The second part looks at the transmission of this pictorial language to Nueva España and the Viceroyalty of Peru. This transmission came about through European masters who went to the South American viceroyalties and worked there for part of their careers, including Angelino Medoro and Andrés de La Concha.

The third and largest section is devoted to shared identities and their local variants, in other words, the coincidences within this pictorial language and the particular, differentiating characteristics that evolved in each region. The intention is to encounter our points of connection rather than our differences, and with this aim in mind this section includes several series of works by painters from both sides of the Atlantic that use the same subject matter including Virgins, Crucifixions, Adorations, archangels, portraits, scenes related to the Conquest, etc. Numerous artists fall within this category, notably Rubens, Juan Carreño de Miranda, Cristóbal de Villalpando, Juan Correa or Baltasar de Echave Ibía.

At the Palacio Real exhibition, the scholarly coordinator has been Carmen García-Frías, Curator of Ancient Painting of Patrimonio Nacional.

The Museo del Prado

The exhibition held at the Prado is complementary to the one at the Palacio Real and further emphasises its aim, namely that of identifying a common idiom as well as specific local characteristics.

At the Prado the exhibition (whose scholarly coordinator is Javier Portús, Chief Curator of Spanish Painting) consists of three principal sections: an introductory one that includes two prints based on compositions by Martin de Vos and Rubens shown alongside Spanish paintings from Nueva España and Peru inspired by them; a section that traces the principal lines of stylistic development in western painting in the 16th and 17th centuries through Spanish and South American works; and a final section that analyses the way that various common religious subjects were depicted in painting in South America and Spain, including the Immaculate Conception and female saints.

The Prado will be showing 39 works by European and South American artists including Bernardo Bitti, Sebastián López de Arteaga, Claudio Coello, Francisco de Zurbarán, Nicolás Rodríguez Juárez, and Cristóbal de Villalpando, as well as two prints, one loaned by the Albertina in Vienna. The installation will allow some of these large-scale works to be seen from a suitable distance, assisting in an appreciation of the originality and ambition of South American painting.

Catalogue and lecture series

To complement the exhibition the publication Painting from the Viceroyalties. Shared Identities will be presented for the first time in Spain. This four-volume work with its high quality binding contains texts on the results of research by all the experts who have made this exhibition possible through their scholarship.

In addition, a number of lecture series will be held at the Palacio Real, the Museo del Prado and the Real Academia de la Historia, with lectures by academics from Spanish, European and South American universities.

Exhibition credits

The organisation of this exhibition has required the combined efforts of Fomento Cultural Banamex, the promoting body behind the event both in Spain and Mexico, the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Patrimonio Nacional and the Museo del Prado, in addition to that of the public and private museums, educational institutions, churches and private collections in Mexico, Spain, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, the USA and other European countries that have participated through the loan of works.

The Director of the project is Cándida Fernández de Calderón (Fomento Cultural Banamex), who has been supported by the academic committee comprising Rogelio Ruiz Gomar, Paula Revenga, Luis Eduardo Wuffarden, Oscar Flores and Ligia Fernández.

The collaborating entities in this project are:

Secretaría de Relaciones Externas de México – Embajada de México en España

Fundacíon Alfredo Harp Helú

Fundación Díez-Morodo

Fundación Roberto Hernández Ramírez