Painting from Museums of Andalusia
24 June, 2011the Hermitage held the opening of Exhibition Dialogues. Baroque Painting from Museums of Andalusia.
The exposition, arranged by the State Hermitage in association with the Committee of Culture of the Assembly of Andalusia and the Committee of Alhambra and Generalife, presents painting of the southern region of Spain, Andalusia, of the period of its art flourishing in the 17th "golden" century.
Rich for artistic traditions Andalusia became the native land for many famous artists. Diego Velasquez was born here and spent his juvenile years, such distinguished masters as Juan Sanchez Cotan, Francisco de Zurbaran, Alonso Cano, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Juan de Valdes Leal worked. Their pictures as well as works of other painter are included into the exhibition composed of 24 works, provided by museums of Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Cadiz.
The head customers in Andalusia of that period were churches and monasteries; predominantly works of religious content were created here. The word "Dialogues" in the title of the exhibition means different treatment of the same subjects by different masters. That is both a dialogue of a man with God, revealed through pictorial images and a dialogue which sometimes lives in side the picture itself.
The exposition is arranged in accordance with the topics, most characteristic
for the Baroque age: Loving Holy Mother, Didactic
Pictures, reflecting love of Holy Mother to Christ, present episodes of his infancy, passion and death.
Works of Juan Sanchez Cotan Madonna Awakening the Child is unaffected, naive and touching. There is neither symbolism nor drama; essentially, the work may be attributed to genre art. Another embodiment the topic of love of Virgin Mary to the Child found in stately and solemn picture of Francisco de Zurbaran Madonna with Beads.
Lyrical images of Madonna are replaced with tragic ones when artists turn to the last days of Christ's life. In The Road to the Calvary Valdes Leal presented Saint John, taking Madonna, Maria Magdalene, Maria of Cleophas and Maria Zavedeeva to the place of Christ's execution.
The tragic theme reaches its apogee in
Ultimate despair of Holy Mother is conveyed in Lamentation by Filipe Gomes de Valencia. In the other way, but deeply human without elevated exaltation the feeling of motherly love is treated in Our Lady of Sorrows by Bartolome Esteban Murillo.
Life of saints, ascetics and mystics was an example for the faithful and it found wide reflection in Andalusian painting of the Baroque age. Monasteries ordered series of works, dedicated to Christian characters and didactic episodes from their biographies to the best artists.
For the Charterhouse Francisco de Zurbaran painted his paired canvases St. John the Forerunner and St. Laurence.
Acuteness of observation, lively sense of reality is characteristic for work of Alonso Cano St. Bernardino of Siena and St. Juan de Capistrano.
One of the favorite images in European art was the image of
Another episode of self-torture is shown in picture St. Jerome in Contrition in the Desert by Alonso Cano.
Both works, dedicated to St. Jerome are characterized with "wordy" plot development, colorful palette, light, transparent painting.
Mysticism got wide spreading in Spain; revelations, ecstasies, visions as a form of communication with the God acquired a visual form in painting, gave rich soil for artists' imagination.
In Putting of Chasuble on St. Ildefonso by Cordoba's painter Antonio del Castillo one of the most worshiped saints in Spain Archbishop Toledo Ildefonso, the author of the book about the Virgin Mary, with many miracles ascribed to him, was painted.
The picture Vision of St. Maria Maddalena de'Pazzi where the saint is crowned with thorns by Christ and Madonna surrounded by angels by Pedro de Moya is dedicated to a famous clairvoyant of the second part of the 16th century. The same attitude is to the vision in picture of Juan Valdes Leal Mystic Betrothal of St. Catherine .
Picture Guardian-Angel by Cordoba's artist Jose Ignacio Cobo Y Gusman is dedicated to one of the most common images of Andalusian painting.
In Still-life with Artichoke and Carrot by Sanchez Cotan vegetables acquired unusual expressiveness. Ordinary vegetables are depicted but they are placed in the background of large empty dark space of the window and thus, they look very significant.
The example of Sanchez Cotan followed Juan Van Der Hamen Y Leon, the author of Still-life with Boxes for Sweets, working at the Court of Madrid.
At the beginning of the 17th century in Spain pictures on everyday life plots started to appear still closely related to still-life painting. One of the earliest Spanish genre pieces is Scene at the Market painted in 1606 by Juan Esteban de Ubeda.
The fact how close the genre art was elated to still-life painting is proved by the creative work of Diego Velasquez. In his early pictures, depicting tableful the still-life is an obligatory part of the foreground.
The portrait, taking in Andalusia just a modest position is presented by Female Portrait by unknown Spanish artist of the 17th century.
Exhibition Curator is Lyudmila Kagane, Chief Researcher of the Department
of Western European Fine Art of the State Hermitage, Doctor of Art History.