Visita Los Venerables



The Focus Foundation will participate in the large exhibition dedicated to Murillo by the Frick Collection and the National Gallery


The Foundation will loan two works by Manuel Alegre (Madrid, 1768–1815), the XVIII century engraver, which are portraits of the Sevillian painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the Foundation keeps in the Hospital de Los Venerables.
Both works will be exhibited at the international exhibition dedicated to the Sevillian painter namely, Murillo: The Self-Portraits, by the Frick Collection and Self-Portrait, by the National Gallery.

Seville, October 11, 2017. The Focus Foundation announced today that it will be participating in Murillo: The Self Portraits, the large international exhibition about the Sevillian painter that New York’s Frick Collection and London’s National Gallery are organizing. The display opens on October 30, and then moves on to the National Gallery for a showing from February 28.

The Focus Foundation will contribute to the exhibition by loaning an engraving by Manuel Alegre, dated in 1790, and its preparatory drawing that was recently identified in the Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez Legacy, which the Foundation received in 2011. Both works display the same self-portrait of the Sevillian painter that today is found at the New York’s Frick Collection. Of special note is that they are the first known graphic evidence of the Self-portrait when they were found in the important collection of Bernardo de Iriarte (1735-1814), the illustrated Spanish politician, in Madrid. Iriarte promoted access to his collection among numerous enthusiasts and artists and in 1790, he loaned this piece to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, so that it could serve as a guide in a competition for engravings that surprisingly enough, Manuel Alegre ended up winning. The preparatory drawing, so far unpublished, represents an important vestige of the creative process in order to obtain the engraving. The Foundation has kept a copy of it in its Engravings Room since 1984. 

By loaning these pieces, the Focus Foundation gives evidence of its continued commitment to institutional cooperation with the Frick Collection, as well as continuing to pay tribute to Murillo by means of this prestigious exhibition, which also serves to mark the 400th anniversary of the Sevillian painter’s birth. The Velázquez. Murillo. Sevilla exhibition sought to do something similar and was the most successful exhibition, in terms of visitors, that the Foundation has ever run, thanks in part to the commitment of the institutions that provided works on loan, such as the Frick Collection. The Frick participated and collaborated with the showing in Seville with their loan of the Self-Portrait by Murillo (1650-1655), recently donated to the Frick by Henry Clay Frick’s heirs. The two works from the Foundation can be viewed together with a group of fifteen other paintings, drawings and engravings on loan from private and public collections, which include the aforementioned portrait from the Frick Collection, and the Self-Portrait (1670) from the London National Gallery.  

The Frick Collection visits the Focus Foundation 

Recently, representatives from the Frick Collection came to visit the Hospital de los Venerables which is where the Focus Foundation is based, as well as other places, as part of a programmed visit to Seville to promote the Year of Murillo. They enjoyed a tour of this XVII century Barroque building and were accompanied by Anabel Morillo León, general director of the Foundation, and Elena Vadillo, director of the Spanish Toursim Office in New York. During the tour, they were able to view The Penitent St Peter of Los Venerables and Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Murillo. The visitors from the Frick also had the opportunity to see first-hand the two works that will be exhibited at the Frick and will be travelling to the New York gallery later this month.



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Fundación Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla (Focus)

The Fundación Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla (Focus) was created in 1982 as a result of the cultural work begun in 1972 by Abengoa with the publication of the works Temas Sevillanos (Themes of Seville) and Iconografía de Sevilla (Iconography of Seville). A collection of documents, books and engravings on the Kingdom of Seville and by Sevillian authors was created during the same period.

This cultural activity inspired and promoted by Abengoa, is based on the support and a series of activities which is of great benefit to society. The Focus Foundation was born from this conviction at the start of the 80s.

1991 became a key year in the organization’s recent history as its location was moved to the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes, a 17th century monument, owned by the  Archbishopric of Seville in addition to inaugurating the exceptional baroque organ. From this point onward, the institution has organized 34 plastic arts exhibitions- visited by over one million people, and has offered a musical program for the organ of international reference.

Since 2007 and following the acquisition of Velázquez’s Santa Rufina by the Foundation, the Hospital de los Venerables has housed the Diego Velázquez Research Centre, a leading institution for studying and disseminating the Baroque era and the Sevillian period of this universally renowned artist. Attention to this crucial moment of the Golden Age is completed with the legacy of Professor Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, received by the Foundation in 2011. Consisting of his library, photo library, archive and collection of artworks, its cataloging is enabling to create a library specializing in Baroque art and culture. This entire heritage is widely spread by Focus Educa, our area of education, by means of which we raise awareness and bring culture closer to society.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Focus Foundation at the Hospital de los Venerables, and coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the birth of Bartolomé E. Murillo, the Hospital de Los Venerables hosted the Velázquez. Murillo. Sevilla Exhibition (2016-2017). This was a first rate cultural phenomenon that received more than 120,000 visitors, making it the most visited exhibition in the history of the Foundation. A series of organ recitals which were held in the Church of Los Venerables made up the musical framework entitled, Tribute to Murillo: Homage to a universal painter.

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Marián Ariza.

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