Opening of the exhibition Spanish Art from the Collection of the State Hermitage in the Hermitage-Kazan Center
On 24 November 2011, as part of the Year of Spain in Russia and the Year
of Russia in Spain, an exhibit entitled Spanish Art from the Collection
of the State Hermitage opened in the
Vladimir Yurevich Matveyev, Deputy Director of the State Hermitage Museum
for Exhibits and Development, and Olga Iosifovna Piulskaya, Director of
A significant part of the exposition is made up of paintings from the
The center of the development of Spanish art in the second half of the 16th century was the royal palace, El Escorial. This was where artists created religious paintings, such as Luis de Carvajal (Circumcision) and Francisco Ribalta (Apostles at a Christ’s Tomb). The plot of the painting created in the workshop of Jusepe de Ribera, Philosopher with Book, Compass and Square was suggested by the Duke of Naples. The artist gave a classical philosopher the appearance of a poor man from the street, heightening the tension of the image with the help of contrasting lights and darks.
The leading artistic school in Spain in the 17th century was in Seville; it is represented by works of Diego Velázquez, Alonzo Cano, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, which constitute the glory of Golden Age of Spanish painting. Head of a Man in Profile, a fragment of a bodegones (a painting on the subject of feasting,) characterizes the earlier work of Velázquez. Even at that stage, the painting is adopting a new style: the depiction of volume with the help of light and shadow effects. The late work of Cano, a small tondo entitled Christ and John the Baptist in Childhood is distinguished by interest in the simple beauty and grace of the body. The indefatigable genius from Seville, Murillo, in this painting about the childhood of Christ achieves perfection in the depiction of the landscape. The light and transparent painting express the airy quality of the space.
In Madrid, the painting of the middle and second half of the 17th century developed in the baroque style. The characteristic signs of this style in the painting by Juan Carreno de Miranda, a leading representative of the Madrid school, St Damian, include: the sharp turns and complex angles of the figure, the rich range of colors, and special interest in depicting the depth of space. Two paintings at the exhibit are dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary: Francisco Camilo and Francisco de Solis created striking theatrical images in their works of Madrid-style painting.
The best traditions of Spanish painting on the border of the 18th and 19th centuries were embodied in the prints and drawings of Francisco Goya. The cutting, socially conscious series entitled Caprichos (The Caprices), the tragic pages of the series Disasters of War, the supreme mastery displayed in the etchings La Tauromaquia (Bull fighting) and the mysterious images of the final series, Los Disparates (Los proverbios) - one hundred pages from the Hermitage collection will present the various planes of Goya’s unique talent.
After the 1830’s, the influence of Romanticism began to be felt in various genres of Spanish painting. The painting Sermon in a Cathedral came from the brush of the head of the school of Romantic landscape in Spain, Jenaro Pérez Villaamil. This architectural fantasy reflects the Romantics’ fondness for Gothic culture. The work entitled Arab by Mariano Fortuny, who enjoyed tremendous popularity among his contemporaries, bears witness to one source of inspiration used by the paintings of the movement, the exotic countries of the East.
Genre painters in the second half of the 19th century made use of scenes from everyday life, and of national tradition (José Villegas Cordero Farwell of Toreador).
Martin Rico y Ortega created his compositions in the impressions style of the 1870’s. His painting entitled Courtyard in Spain is memorable for the free play of splashes of color, which form the figures of people and the silhouettes of houses. It was in the spirit of Symbolism that Enrique Serra y Auque painted his work Sunset on the Pontic Shores. In the works of Ignacio Zuloaga Dwarf Gregorio and The Anchorite, the traditions of the old masters and the artistic methods of modernism are combined.
From the 15th to the 17th century, Spain was one of the leading powers of Europe in the production of weapons for both war and hunting, which were distinguished by their high quality, diversity and rich artistic appearance.
This exhibit also includes quite characteristic examples of Spanish applied
and decorative art from the
The Curator of the Exhibit is Nikolai Leonidovich Zykov, academic associate of the Western European Fine Art Department of the State Hermitage.
An illustrated academic catalogue has been prepared with the exhibit
(published by “Slavia”,