December 17, 2014 - Museo Nacional del Prado - Bernini and Spanish Drawings
December 17, 2014

Bernini and Spanish Drawings

Gian Lorenzo Bernini,Anima dannata, 1619. White marble. Embassy of Spain in Vatican City, Holy See, Rome.

Bernini’s “Souls”: Art in Rome for the Spanish Court
Spanish Drawings from the Hamburger Kunsthalle: Cano, Murillo and Goya

Until 8 February 2015

Museo del Prado 
Paseo del Prado, s/n
28014 Madrid

Bernini’s “Souls”. Art in Rome for the Spanish Court
Curator: Delfín Rodríguez Ruiz, Professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Spanish Drawings from the Hamburger Kunsthalle: Cano, Murillo and Goya
Curator: José Manuel Matilla, Head of the Department of Prints and Drawings and curator.

On display at the Museo del Prado until 8 February are two exhibitions: Bernini’s “Souls”. Art in Rome for the Spanish court and Spanish Drawings from the Hamburger Kunsthalle: Cano, Murillo and Goya. These two important events are part of the Museum’s temporary exhibition programme, which is completed this season by Goya in Madrid, sponsored by Fundación AXA.

Bernini’s “Souls” recreates the complex and fascinating relationship between the Italian artist and Spain, taking its starting point from the two remarkable sculptures of the Anima beata and the Anima dannata that were executed with astonishing maturity by the young sculptor for the Spanish prelate Pedro de Foix Montoya. They are now exhibited for the first time at the Prado as the opening works in the exhibition. 23 works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini plus 16 by other artists, including Codazzi and Velázquez, provide a rich and eloquent context for Bernini’s relationship with the Spanish crown, consolidated during the pontifical reigns of Innocent X and Alexander VII.

Some of these Spanish commissions are included in the present exhibition, from the Souls to the beautiful, small bronze Equestrian Sculpture of Charles II, commissioned by the Marquis del Carpio and exhibited here for the first time in Spain. The exhibition also includes architectural and sculptural projects such as the Monument to Philip IV in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome; drawings relating to the design and organisation of canonisation ceremonies such as the one for Saint Thomas of Villanueva in Saint Peter’s; and designs for temporary structures including firework devices for the celebrations of The Birth of the Infanta Margarita and those to mark The Peace of Aachen. Also included in the exhibition is Bernini’s bust of Paul V’s nephew Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a patron who recognised the artist’s remarkable talents at an early date and became a loyal supporter of his career.

The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is among Bernini’s most celebrated and characteristic creations and one that reflects his idea of art as “the unity of the visual arts.” In addition, it is devoted to a religious subject of a notably Spanish nature. The exhibition includes the terracotta bozzeto for this sculptural group, loaned from the Hermitage Museum.

The second exhibition, Spanish Drawings in the Hamburger Kunsthalle: Cano, Murillo and Goya, offers a chronological survey of 85 Spanish drawings from the 16th to the early 19th century from the Hamburger Kunsthalle, which houses one of the most important collections of Spanish Old Master drawings in terms of size and quality outside Spain. The core of the exhibition comprises a series of drawings associated with the Academy jointly founded in Seville by Murillo, Juan de Valdés Leal and Francisco de Herrera the Younger. Notable among this group are drawings by these three artists, in addition to others by Cano and Antonio del Castillo. The other principal focus in the exhibition is a group of drawings by Francisco de Goya, particularly those based on paintings by Velázquez that are now in the Prado. Executed as preparatory studies for a series of prints, Goya did not merely “copy” Velázquez but rather offered his own masterly interpretation of that artist’s work. The exhibition also includes drawings from Goya’s Madrid Album and preparatory studies for his famous print series “La Tauromaquia.”

The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue (also published in English) analyse various key issues relating to the world of drawings, including the study of attributions and how these change; the importance of drawing as an autonomous means of expression; its use as a teaching resource; and the way it was used by artists in the creative process. Finally, it looks at how drawings were collected in the 18th and 19th centuries and makes use of the inventory (on display in the exhibition) of this group to explain how it entered the Hamburger Kunsthalle. 

Exhibition organised by the Museo Nacional del Prado, The Meadows Museum and the Hamburger Kunstahalle, in collaboration with CEEH Center for Spain in America.

Museo Nacional del Prado
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