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Velázquez. Murillo. Seville at the Focus Foundation from November 8

16/09/2016

The exhibition, that forms part of the Year of Murillo and is being organized by the City Hall of Seville, enjoys a special collaboration with the Museo del Prado that has loaned five of the 19 paintings by the two masters that will be exhibited. It is curated by Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the London National Gallery.

Loaned paintings from the greatest international museums and private collections (Louvre, National Gallery, Meadows, Kunsthistorisches, The Frick Collection, The Wellington Collection, Dulwich Picture, Nelson-Atkins, Museo de Bellas Artes in Orleans and The Fondo Cultural Villar-Mir), will allow an innovative reflection to be made on the relationship and affinities that the two geniuses of universal painting had.

The exhibition is organized by the Focus Foundation and celebrates the 25 years that it has been based in the Hospital de los Venerables.

Seville, September 16, 2016. To coincide with celebrating 25 years in the Hospital de los Venerables (1991-2016), the Focus Foundation has announced today in the Hospital de la Caridad in Seville, the exposition project; Velázquez. Murillo. Seville. The organizing of the exhibition began in 2014 under the leadership of Anabel Morillo; General Director of the Foundation, and her team. It is closely supported by the City Hall of Seville, that is organizing the Year of Murillo, and also the Museo del Prado and will be the first large exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of Murillo’s birth. Gabriele Finaldi; Director of the London National Gallery and the curator of this project seeks, by means of the 19 paintings selected, a new – more ideal than direct- reflection on the relationship between these two masters with a series of markers, placing special emphasis on the common ground found in Seville, the city that promotes both painters. A cosmopolitan, cultured and devout city, and one where painting was a hallmark and a reason for civic pride. However, the exhibition also highlights the painters’ differences: Velázquez went to the Court in search of recognition while Murillo became embedded in the civil and religious framework of Seville; Velázquez painted princes and gods and Murillo concentrated more on virgins and saints among others.

The exhibition will open its doors on November 8, and will run until February 28, 2017. According to Anabel Morillo, Director of the Focus Foundation, it marks the culmination of a strict line which has taken Baroque as the center of its activity in all its different facets (plastic art, music, seminars, the library and the engraving collection), without overlooking the fact that the Foundation has succeeded in diversifying its view and built bridges towards other approaches, tending to the current manifestations and to other distant and contemporary cultures. She added that this new exhibition milestone within the Year of Murillo has been made possible thanks to the support of the Mayor of Seville and Andalusian institutions, together with the generosity of the Museo del Prado and other international museums, that are recognizing the Focus Foundation’s sustained history of organizing large exhibitions.

Gabriele Finaldi, the Curator of the exhibition and Director of the London National Gallery presents an innovative look at the relationship and affinities of Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), two painters educated a generation apart in Seville; a city that exported paintings and painters, and who were able to play a part in the development of art in Spain and beyond our borders, both during the Baroque period and in later centuries.  There is no documented evidence that the two painters knew each other personally because it is only known for a certainty that Murillo travelled to Madrid in 1658 when both artists were already well-known. Murillo may have taken an interest in the over twenty paintings that Velázquez produced before travelling to Madrid, although for the most part, art historians believe that the painter of the The Ladies in Waiting had a limited influence on Murillo.

The reuniting of the two masters of painting in Seville

With the 19 paintings that have been selected for the exhibition, nine by Veláquez and dated between 1617 and 1656, and 10 by Murillo dated between 1645 and 1680, visitors will be able to admire a pictorial radiant intelligence, a great technical virtuoso, a natural ability to reach the very essence of the human experience and the ability to communicate with spectators directly. This is achieved by means of a series of pairs and triptychs of superb works in which new iconography of devotion are appreciated, or the innovative way of catching the daily life and the intimate family life which Velázquez and Murillo created.

The exhibition will reveal the direct language that Velázquez and Murillo used, and this  can be observed in the representation of the city’s two patron saints: Santa Justa and Santa Rufina by Murillo, from the Meadows in Dallas- previously unseen in Seville- and the Santa Rufina by Velázquez from Focus; the innovation of Velázquez in the Immaculada  from the London National Gallery in dialogue with the Focus Foundation, that will be featured together for the very first time in Spain, and in addition, Murillo’s Immaculada, from the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, which is also previously unseen in Spain. Together with these, The Infant Margarita in White Dress, by Velázquez from Kunsthistorishes in Vienna, which will be featured in an ideal relationship with Murillo’s The Education of the Virgin; and the original way the intimacy of home is represented by two works from the Museo del Prado, The Adoration of the Magi, by Velázquez and Murillo’s The Holy Family with a Little Bird, both of which have been restored for this exhibition. 

In addition to these exhibits, the very roots of Seville’s popular painting will be featured with The Grooming Child and Three Boys, both by Murillo and loaned from the Louvre and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, together with Two Young Men at a Table by Velázquez, from The Wellington Collection; the emotional intensity of Velázquez’ Penitent Saint Peter, from The Fondo Cultural Villar Mir together with the one by Murillo from The Focus Foundation, which was acquired from a private collector in the United Kingdom, restored at the Museo del Prado and presented in Madrid and Seville, thereby returning it to the place that it used to occupy at the Hospital de los Venerables;  the pronounced naturalism of Saint Thomas by Velázquez, from The Museo de Orleans, whose influence can be seen on Murillo with his work The Apostle James, that is owned by the Prado; the dignified, in fact, almost aristocrat pose in the early Self-portrait by Velázquez (1623) and Murillo’s Self-portrait (1650-1655) that was recently acquired by the Frick Collection in Nueva York.

A catalogue will be edited to coincide with the exhibition which will include an essay by Gabriele Finaldi, the Curator of the exhibition, and notes by the General Director of the Focus Foundation; Anabel Morillo, about the key themes and strategies of the exhibition; another text that covers the artistic relationships between Seville and the Spanish Court by Javier Portús, who is in charge of the Conservation of Spanish Painting at the Museo del Prado; and a study on the training, mountings, techniques and the use of colour by both maters, undertaken by María Álvarez-Garcillán and Jaime García-Maiquez, from the Museo del Prado.

For more information about the exhibition:

Julián Hernández Email: julian.hdez58@gmail.com

You can also follow us on our twitter account: @VelMurSev

You can also follow us on our facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/Velazquez.Murillo.Sevilla/

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