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Spanish Portraits at the Prado

Other Reviews:

"The Spanish Portrait from El Greco to Picasso" (, October 22)

The Spanish Portrait: From El Greco to Picasso Opens (, October 25)

El Greco, Portrait of Fray Hortensio Félix Paravicino
A little article from France 2 Cultural News (Du Greco à Picasso: expo au Prado, October 18) described a new exhibit at the Museo del Prado in Madrid. El Retrato Español del Greco a Picasso (The Spanish portrait from El Greco to Picasso) brings together 87 paintings from the end of the 15th century up to 1920: "Spanish nobles, courtisans, and common people captured by Titian, Ribera, Murillo, Velazquez, Zurbaran, Goya, El Greco, Miro, and Picasso," among others (here's a list, but it's not complete):
The first painters shown are devoted solely to monarchs, the nobility, and rich bourgeois. "The female portrait becomes important only from the 18th century onward, and we have to wait many years for other subjects to be undertaken," says the curator, Javier Portús. Through the centuries and styles, the exhibit tries to answer the question of whether there is a typically Spanish portrait. "It is characterized by subjects like jesters and dwarves," says Javier Portús. [...] Numerous works shown by the largest Spanish museum have been loaned by foreign museums. Some, like Velázquez's Infanta Margarita in blue and Goya's Duchess of Alba are on exhibit in Spain for the first time.
Hervé Gauville's review (Le Prado de faces, October 22) for Libération singles out what is probably the highlight of the exhibit:
Far from fencing itself in along nationalist lines, the exhibit crosses geographic as well as historical boundaries. One room is devoted to a comparative presentation of Velázquez and Goya. Each painting is confronted by its counterpart: Philip IV on horseback (V.) versus Charles IV on horseback (G.), Prince Baltasar Carlos hunting (V.) versus Charles III hunting (G.), etc.
Gauville's other article (Le Greco, avec grâce et en toute liberté, October 22) for Libération is an appreciation of one painting in the exhibit, El Greco's Portrait of Fray Hortensio Félix Paravicino (from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston), shown here.

El Retrato Español del Greco a Picasso will be at the Museo del Prado, in Madrid, until February 6, 2005. If you will not be able to make it to Madrid, the museum's Web site has many high-quality images.

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