A place to share my many interests in Architecture, Art, Design, Travel, and Culture.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A portrait of Spain

The Houston Museum of Fine Arts has outdone itself this spring by curating an exhibition of masterpieces from the Museo del Prado of Madrid, Spain.  Though the Prado houses an incredible collection of art - full of the usual Italians, French, Dutch, and the best of the Spanish Masters - the Houston exhibition, aptly named "A Portrait of Spain" focuses on the greatest Spanish Masters, their influences, and their legacy. 

The paintings, which range from the Baroque to the Romantic period, weave a story of epic history, religious fervor, courtly life, and common customs, and instructs us into the myths of the State and how a country and a people see themselves through Art. 

These are some of my favorite pieces:
marsDiego Velazquez "El descanso de Marte".  Though the subject is drawn from classical mythology, Velazquez has  rejected classical painting parameters, and has chosen to portrait the god of war with the face of a typical Spaniard; instead of a fierce and powerful warrior, Velazquez' Mars seems dejected, perhaps a reference to war-weary Spanish spirits during the Franco-Spanish war.
 
murillo
Bartolome Esteban Murillo "La Inmaculada Concepcion de Aranjuez".  This image and the catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception became in Spain, a symbol of religious and national identity from the 17th century and on.  There is a bit of nostalgia for me here; if you grew up in Nicaragua, like I did, then this painting should be familiar to you, as the image is copied and displayed in churches and in private devotion.
Mariano Fortuny
Mariano Fortuny "Viejo desnudo al sol" hangs in the portion of the exhibit called "The Spanish School looks in the mirror".  The painting draws inspiration from a masterpiece 200 years its senior, Jusepe de Ribera's Saint Andrew.
 




And this one was one of John's favorites: Francisco de Zurbaran "Agnus Dei".
zurbaran
Our friends' favorite: Juan van der Hamen y Leon "Bodegon".
juan van der hamen y leon
And one that we all liked: Francisco de Goya "Los Desastres de la Guerra", a series of etching depicting the awful reality of the Peninsular War.
Goya
The exhibition stays at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston until March 31st, 2013.
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1 comments :

Karaul said...

Indeed, the Houston MFA has outdone itself. The exhibition is extraordinarily wealthy, leaving visitors in awe of the rest of the Prado collection that stays behind in Madrid. I personally discovered Goya, the per-war and post- war Goyas, whose etchings mesmerize and appall at the same time.

And the still lives,mmmmm... Go, see and feast on them!

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