Fundación Focus
 

 

 

The Focus Foundation presents the book Murillo and the Metaphors of the Image

16/11/2016

  • Benito Navarrete presents an anachronistic Murillo in his book, which is one based on an analysis of the Sevillian painter from the point of view of the reception of his work, from the 17th century down to today.   
  • According to the author, Murillo, the Hospital de Los Venerables and Seville are three inseparable realities.  
  • The presentation was attended by Peter Cherry, History of Art Lecturer at the Trinity College in Dublin, Juan José Asenjo, the archbishop of Seville, Anabel Morillo, director of the Focus Foundation, and Juan Espadas, mayor of Seville.
  • Anabel Morillo stressed that this book reveals the emotional keys behind how Murillo has captivated his audience over time.

Seville, November 16, 2017.  The Focus Foundation has presented Murillo y las metáforas de la imagen (Murillo and the Metaphors of the Image) today at the Hospital de Los Venerables. This is the latest work by Benito Navarrete, lecturer at the University of Alcalá and a curator of the Year of Murillo.

The presentation of this work, which offers a novel insight into the artistic production of the Sevillian painter, was attended by Dr. Peter Cherry, History of Art Lecturer at the Trinity College in Dublin, in addition to the archbishop of Seville Juan José Asenjo-titular of the Hospital of the Hospital de Los Venerables-, the author of the book, Benito Navarrete, the general director of the Focus Foundation, Anabel Morillo -who emphasized the merits of the doctors Navarrete and Cherry-, and the mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas.

Dr. Peter Cherry, whose collaboration was instrumental in the exhibition ‘Murillo and Justino de Neve: The art of friendship,’ that the Focus Foundation ran at the end of 2012, wanted to emphasize that this contribution’s great achievement is "to have proposed a Murillo for the 21st century," because "on the basis of scholarship and knowledge of both the artist and of the Sevillian medium, and of the traditional sources and bibliography, Professor Navarrete has been able to offer an interpretation of the painter according to the most relevant recent theoretical trends of our discipline, which have never before been applied to Murillo". For her part, Anabel Morillo highlighted the "new methodological approaches" that Navarrete puts forth in his work which focus on "the emotional impressions and sensations for which Murillo's painting has captivated his audience over time". Benito Navarrete "reveals the keys to this empathic skill of the painter, sustained in the power of the image, among others".

Juan Espadas, the mayor of Seville stated “this book is part of the spirit of research and excellence that we wished to see printed to mark the fourth centenary of the birth of Murillo. The work, together with the eight exhibitions, numerous activities and publications that make up the anniversary, succeeds in shedding light on the maestro in addition to stripping him of all the prejudices and clichés to which he has often been associated”.

Benito Navarrete wished to point out that Murillo y las metáforas de la imagen is not a catalogue of the artist’s works but rather a subjective essay in which the art historian takes a journey through Murillo’s paintings from a visual culture approach and that of the reception of his work, from the 17th century down to our day. In this sense, the author describes Murillo as an anachronistic artist, because the power of his images, which has not diminished with the passing of time thanks to the memory - real and fictitious - that has been shaped around them, has made those images more important than the historical circumstances in which they were created.

One of the conclusions drawn by Navarrete throughout his work is the notion, one which is not mistaken yet differs from the prevailing one that the public held and holds of the work of the great Sevillian painter and is how "Murillo took charge of managing his own fame," as Navarrete stated, "and he did it in a premeditated manner." In fact, Murillo was responsible for achieving, thanks to his works, that the public had an image of kindness "that was his strategy and had not much to do with reality." In this sense, Navarrete reveals episodes in Murillo’s life until now unknown by the general public, such as the time he spent in prison.

Furthermore, Murillo y las metáforas de la imagen offers a clear sample of the inseparable relationship between the Sevillian artist, Seville itself and the Hospital de Los Venerables, as well as his ability to master the codes of social networks and the cyclic changes of the city. The book also underscores the close relationship between Murillo and the Hospital de Los Venerables, the current headquarters of the Focus Foundation, not only because of its connection to Justino de Neve; the canon of the Cathedral of Seville and promoter of the development of the Hospital, but also because of the importance of the works that were produced for the  Hospital, such as the Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables, also known as the Immaculate Conception of Soult, or  The Penitent Saint Peter of Los Venerables.

In this regard, the general director of the Focus Foundation highlighted just what the reader will find in Navarrete's work namely, "the haphazard and fascinating history of the recovery of the Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables, that used to be found in one of the altars of this very church where we sit today, very close to the The Penitent Saint Peter of Los Venerables, which we recovered for Seville in 2014 after two hundred years of international exile."  

In his book, Navarrete recalls how Seville was plundered during the Napoleonic invasion and the fate of some of the works that were confiscated, such as the very Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables, which became an authentic show of power in Europe and an "obsession for Franco” due to the market value it reached. Thanks to an agreement with the state of France, the painting was returned to Spain in 1940 with the Lady of Elche and the treasure of Guarrazar.

This work "targets specialists but its challenge has been to reconcile the different audiences and explain the creative process of the development of their works," and concludes by giving the reader four new attributions to Murillo. First of all, we find the Portrait of Venerable Father Contreras, from the collection of Seville’s Town Hall; Tears of Saint Peter and the Holy Family from private collections, and last of all the extraordinary portrait of Diego Ortiz de Zúñiga, the city historian who was the main promoter of Murillo before Justino de Neve, which was kept in a collection at Penrhyn Castle, in the north of Wales.

Fact Sheet

Ediciones Cátedra

Collection: Arte Grandes temas

Pages: 360

Published: November 9, 2017

Format: paper

Subject: Art>Artistic theory and art historiography 

 Now on sale at the Focus Foundation and in book stores

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.

Benito Navarrete

Benito Navarrete, Lecturer at the University of Alcalá and a curator of the Year of Murillo, author of ‘Murillo y las metáforas de la imagen’ (Murillo and the Metaphors of the Image)

ponentes

From left to right: Dr. Peter Cherry, History of Art Lecturer at the Trinity College in Dublin, Anabel Morillo, general director of the Focus Foundation, Juan José Asenjo, the archbishop of Seville, Juan Espadas the mayor of Seville, and Benito Navarrete, the author of the book ‘Murillo y las metáforas de la imagen’

Fernando Botero. Picador en la plaza. 1991. © Fundación Focus

Tears of Saint Peter,  one of the attributions that Navarrete makes in his book.


Communication Department

Marián Ariza

Rocio Castro

Tel. +34 954 93 71 11     

E-mail: comunicacion@fundacionfocus.com

You can also follow us on:

Educational and cultural activities