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  • The Spanish Portrait: From El Greco to Picasso Opens October 22, 2004

    A woman walks in front of "The Family of Carlos IV," painted by Francisco de Goya in 1808 15 October 2004 during the inauguration of the exhibition Spanish Portraits at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

    The Museo del Prado presents a major exhibition, The Spanish Portrait: from El Greco to Picasso, which will cover the development of this genre in Spanish painting from the late 15th century to the first decades of the 20th. More than 80 paintings will be included by the leading names in this genre in Spain such as Juan de Flandes, Pedro Berruguete, Pedro de Campana, Antonio Moro, Alonso Sanchez Coello, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, El Greco, Francisco Ribalta, Jose de Ribera, Francisco de Zurbaran, Diego Velazquez, Bartolome Murillo, Juan Carreno, Juan Valdes Leal, Anton Rafael Mengs, Luis Melendez, Luis Paret, Francisco de Goya, Vicente Lopez, Federico de Madrazo, Eduardo Rosales, Joaquin Sorolla, Ramon Casas, Isidre Nonell, Ignacio Zuloaga, Pablo Picasso, Joan Paret, Francisco de Goya, Vicente Lopez, Federico de Madrazo, Eduardo Rosales, Joaquin Sorolla, Ramon Casas, Isidre Nonell, Ignacio Zuloaga, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and Juan Gris. This is the first exhibition in the history of the museum to be structured as an extensive chronological survey, allowing for a complete overview of the history of the genre from its origins to the early 20th-century avant-garde movements.

    This is the first exhibition to offer an overall survey of the history of the portrait in Spain, as all previous investigations of the subject (either books or exhibitions) have focused on shorter periods in time. The present exhibition will therefore use a broader perspective to analyse the stylistic development of the genre as well as the different social meanings of the portrait in Spain, the self-image created by sitters over the centuries and how they wished this image to be transmitted, and the representational devices used by artists at different periods.

    To bring this about, the paintings included in the exhibition have been selected and grouped according to aesthetic, chronological and typological criteria. The various sections include "Origins", which looks at the birth of the portrait as an independent genre; "The Court Portrait", which acknowledges the importance of the Court as a key source of patronage for this genre in the 16th to 18th centuries; "El Greco"; "Portrait and Reality", which looks at the boundaries between naturalistic description and the portrait through the work of Ribalta, Ribera, Zurbaran and Murillo; "Diego Velazquez"; "Velazquez and Goya", which describes the artistic dialogue between Goya and his great Sevillian predecessor; "Goya and the Contemporary Portrait"; "The 19th-century Spanish Portrait", which looks at how 19th-century portrait painters responded to earlier tradition; and "The Portrait and the Avant-Gardes", which will bring together works by Picasso, Gris and Miro.

    A large number of the works selected for inclusion in the exhibition will come from the Museo del Prado’s own collection, which features many of the most important Spanish portraits of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Leading Spanish and international institutions will also be lending works, and these include Fray Hortensio Felix Paravicino by El Greco (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts); Gertrude Stein by Picasso (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art); both full length portraits of the Duchess of Alba (Madrid, Duques de Alba, and New York, The Hispanic Society of America), which will be exhibited together for the first time; Self-portrait with Doctor Arrieta by Goya (The Minneapolis Institute of Arts); Four figures on a step by Murillo (Forth Worth, Kimbell Art Museum); Miguel de Manara by Valdes Leal (Seville, Hospital de la Caridad); Infanta Margarita in Blue by Velazquez (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum); Sebastian Martinez by Goya (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art); Picasso’s Self-Portrait of 1901 (Paris, Musee Picasso), and Miro’s Self-Portrait (Paris, Musee Picasso). El principe Felipe Prospero.