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The “other Renaissance”

Spanish artists in Renaissance Naples, on display at the Museo del Prado Monday, October 17, 2022

On show in Rooms A and B of the Jerónimos Building until 20 January, this exhibition, organised by the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte in Naples, the Museo Nacional del Prado and Fundación BBVA, offers a survey of one of the most productive and unknown chapters within European Renaissance culture, namely the transition of Spanish and southern Italian art towards the “modern manner”: the great art arising from the revolution brought about by Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo.

Entitled The other Renaissance. Spanish artists in Naples in the early Cinquecento, the exhibition includes 75 works (44 paintings, 25 sculptures, 5 books and an altarpiece) loaned from public and private collections in Spain and elsewhere. These works draw attention to a time frame (the early years of the 16th century), a place (Naples) and a series of figures (Spanish and Italian painters and sculptors) which together constitute an artistic context that has often been seen as secondary in relation to the great Renaissance centres of Rome and Florence but which had great significance within the broader political reality of the Spanish monarchy, as demonstrated by the subsequent activity in Spain of artists such as Pedro Machuca, Bartolomé Ordóñez, Diego de Siloe, Pedro Fernández and Alonso Berruguete, among others.


Spanish artists in Renaissance Naples, on display at the Museo del Prado

From left to right: Miguel Falomir, Director of the Museo Nacional del Prado; Riccardo Naldi, Professore, Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università degli Studi Napoli «L’Orientale» and curator of the exhibition; Juan Pujol, Assistant Director of Fundación BBVA; Andrea Zezza, Professore associato, Dipartimento di Lettere e Beni Culturali, Università degli Studi della Campania and curator of the exhibition; and Javier Solana, Head of the Board of Trustees of the Museo Nacional del Prado. Photo © Museo Nacional del Prado

Curated by Andrea Zezza, associate professor, department of humanities and cultural heritage at the Università degli Studi della Campania, and Riccardo Naldi, professor in the faculty of humanities and philosophy at the Università degli Studi Napoli “L’Orientale”, the exhibition is benefiting from the sole sponsorship of Fundación BBVA. In the words of Javier Solana, president of the Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo Nacional del Prado, it “embarks on a visual journey through a period filled with interest; a moment which saw the emergence of a new manner of artistic expression that was interpreted differently and would arrive in the Iberian peninsula assimilated, transformed and different.”

Installed in an architectural space that evokes Neapolitan buildings of the period, The other Renaissance offers an accurate idea of the significance of the innovations of this period without restricting itself to a single discipline. The result is to convey an overall vision and one that reflects the coexistence of different techniques and materials characteristic of this period. Paintings on wood or canvas, miniatures, polychromed wood carvings and marble sculptures together present a wide range of typologies and formats in order to convincingly convey the period in question.

For Rafael Pardo Avellaneda, director general of Fundación BBVA, “by participating in an exhibition of this nature we are helping to illustrate one of the most beautiful chapters in this shared story, particularly with regard to assessing the gratifying process of exchange and to revealing how knowledge is devoid of frontiers and that it is collaboration and dialogue which bring out our maximum creativity.”

The exhibition, which will subsequently be shown at the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte in Naples, complete narratives and adds further details to the permanent collection of the Prado through its presentation of the visual arts in Naples in the early 16th century. It also offers an opportunity to emphasise the key role of Spain and Spanish culture in an enriching process of interaction and exchange with the Italian world, given that, in the words of Miguel Falomir, director of the Museo Nacional del Prado, “we can say without any fear of exaggeration that without that Neapolitan experience, the Spanish Renaissance would be very different.”

To this end, the exhibition includes 75 works from national and international public and private collections, among which we would like to highlight the generosity of the loans from the Edifici di Culto Fund of the Italian Ministry dell'Interno in its institutional commitment to continue strengthening cultural ties between Italy and Spain.