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The Museo del Prado presents the exhibition Bartolomé Bermejo Monday, October 8, 2018

The Museo del Prado presents an anthological exhibition organized in conjunction with the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya that enables us to admire the technical virtuosity and suggestive visual universe of Bartolomé Bermejo in all its splendor for the very first time. Bermejo was a master painter from Cordoba who pursued his professional career in the territories that made up the Kingdom of Aragon.

Bartolomé Bermejo is one of the most fascinating figures from the art scene of the second half of the fifteenth century, and this exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Madrid Regional Government and featuring the support of Fundación Banco Sabadell, brings together the majority of his works for the very first time. His works are preserved at museums and in collections distributed throughout Spain, Europe and the United States, and include masterpieces such as Saint Michael Triumphant Over the Devil with the Donor Antoni Joan of Tous, from the National Gallery in London, and Pietat Desplà from the Cathedral of Barcelona, amongst others.

The Museo del Prado presents the exhibition Bartolomé Bermejo

From left to right: Miguel Falomir, director of the Museo Nacional del Prado;  Josep Serra i Villalba, director of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya; María Pardo,  general director of Promoción Cultural de la Comunidad de Madrid; Jaime de los Santos, consejero de Cultura, Turismo y Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid; Miquel Molins, president of the Fundación Banco Sabadell; and Joan Molina, professor of the Universitat de Girona and curator of the exhibition “Bartolomé Bermejo”. Photo © Museo Nacional del Prado.

Room C in the Jerónimos Building at the Museo del Prado will host the staging of this exhibition, curated by Joan Molina, a lecturer at the Universitat de Girona. The exhibition seeks to pay well-deserved homage to Bartolomé de Cárdenas, alias El Bermejo (1440-1501), one of the most suggestive and attractive painters of the fifteenth century, by presenting his work to the general public.

Bermejo’s work exploits the pictorial potential of oil painting techniques, a new development at the time. In this respect, he created a personal realist language, one that focused especially on illusionist effects and on the definition of spectacular ranges of color. His main point of reference consisted of Flemish painting, the school inaugurated by Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, which, by the latter half of the fifteenth century, had seduced the whole of Europe, including Italy. Although it has been speculated that Bermejo received his training in the workshops of Northern Europe, it is more probable that he learnt his craft in the cosmopolitan city of Valencia during the second third of the fifteenth century, a city that was open to Flemish and Italian styles, both of which the Cordobese painter reflected in his work.

Alongside his technical skill, he had an astonishing capacity to develop new interpretations of all kinds of devotional themes and iconographies. His desire to continue exploring new terrain, especially within the realms of landscape and portrait painting, enabled him to create some of his most complex and innovative works during the latter part of his professional career. His talent was recognized by a select group of commissioning clients, ranging from members of the Church and noblemen to distinguished merchants. It was also acknowledged by his fellow painters, who often imitated his compositions.

After his death, both his name and his work faded into obscurity, and appreciation for his creative work only revived at the end of the nineteenth century, when some of his most exceptional paintings on board aroused the interest of both international collectors and forgers of old paintings.

This exhibition, which will feature some 48 works from the collections of more than 25 loaning parties, will be presented between 9th October 2018 and 27th January 2019 at the Museo del Prado and, featuring some small variations, between 14th February and 19th May 2019 at the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya.

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