Visita Los Venerables
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New School of the Baroque

On the 9th, 10th and 11th of this coming November, the Hospital de los Venerables, the headquarters of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, will host a new edition of the School of the Baroque entitled Science, Nature and Art in the Time of the Baroque, with the scientific coordination of professor Antonio-Miguel Bernal from the University of Seville.

This School will examine the world of science in its more cultural facet. It will examine the birth of the “new science” after Bacon, as the theories of the world and of nature went from being essentially poetic – as coined by the long inherited mediaeval tradition – to become essentially scientific.

Modern science and the development of the artistic culture of the Baroque went hand in hand and become the cornerstones in the history of European culture. It was a modern science in which the discovery of the underpinnings of nature led people to question the relationship between people and the natural environment, which opened up the confines beyond living nature to theories of light and colour, space and time, as expressed in the creative genius of Velázquez in the garden of Villa Medicis.

The “vision” of nature took on different projections after Baroque art. The conception of the natural world under the scientific impetuses of the 17th and 18th century are increasingly distant from the preceding allegories and symbolisms. The landscape emerges in pure form as an expressive means for man to interact with nature.Recalling, among others, André Mollet in his treatise Le Jardin de Plaisir (1651), from the gardens of delight of the 16th century to the gardens of love of the 17th century, natural history under the modalities of collecting, and as visual culture, took a qualitative leap in the representation of nature as art and in art.

In the time of the Baroque, art and science were not antagonistic and were instead interrelated in the construction of a new pictorial time and space in which nature even more intensely ceased to be seen as a divine hieroglyphic and instead was viewed more as visual culture, a faithful reflection of the influx of science in art.

Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with Juno, Io and Argos (detail), ca. 1634-35.
Gemäldegalerie. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

To more deeply probe this topic, we will have the participation of distinguished experts in Art History and the History of Science. The guest philosophers and thinkers, all of them from renowned institutions in both Spain and abroad, will include Keith Christiansens, the conservator of European painting at the Metropolitan Museum in New York; Javier Viar, director of the Fine Arts Museum of Bilbao, and Manuela Mena, Head of Conservation of 18th Century Painting and Goya at the Museo del Prado; Enrique Valdivieso, professor at the University of Seville, and Guillermo Rodríguez Izquierdo SJ, from Loyola University Andalusia. Another prominent participant will be José Ramón Marcaida, professor at Cambridge University and winner of the 4th International Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez “Art of the Baroque” prize for his study Art and Science in the Spanish Baroque: Natural History, Collecting and Visual Culture, which has recently been issued jointly with Marcial Pons publishers.

In addition to the lecture sessions and round tables, the School will offer a scheduled visit to the Focus-Abengoa Campus, where participants can witness an example of the cultural and technological landscape around the Guadiamar River. What is more, as a musical complement, at the end of the second day an organ concert will be held in the church of the Hospital de Los Venerables featuring José Enrique Ayarra, the tenured organist of the Foundation. The Focus-Abengoa Foundation website contains further information on the content of and registration for the School of the Baroque.

Educational and cultural activities