Thursday, March 3, 2011

Russo-Spanish cultural year opens at Hermitage with Prado collection

Auto-portrait, Francisco de Goya, Prado Museum, Madrid. Photo by Stefan van Drake

Unlike art-feuding France and Mexico (see yesterday's post), Russia and Spain on 25 Feb. enjoyed an harmonious launch to their year in each other's country as a Prado collection of more than 60, 15th - 19th C. canvases went on show at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

It continues through 29 May.

Director of the National Prado Museum in Madrid, Miguel Zugaza, told the St. Petersburg Times the idea for the exhibition comes from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.

Medvedev visited the Prado a couple of years ago and came away thoroughly impressed and enthusiastic, Zugaza added.

What disparate art museums.

I've visited the Hermitage twice, in 1976 and 1985, and I long to return.

More recently, I have immersed myself within the Prado's vast collections of Titian, Velazquez, Goya and Reubens.

The Prado really belongs to these masters, while the Hermitage appears more inclusive and extensive.

This show, however, brings together Prado's Spanish as well as western European maestros, only the second time they've left the Prado. The first was in1939 and then only to protect them during the months of the Spanish Civil War.

Spanish painter working at the Prado. Photo by Stefan van Drake.

The Hermitage selection from the Prado includes works by: Rogier van der Weyden, Jheronimus Bosch, Raphael, Pieter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Jacopo Tintoretto, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Luca Giordano, El Greco, Francisco de Zurbarán, José de Ribera, Diego Velázquez, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Francisco de Goya. 

The Milkmaid of Bordeaux, 1825 - 27, Goya.
The Naked Maja, Goya, 1798 - 1805. Photos by S. van Drake.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage, called the exhibition an "historic event" with every picture a "masterpiece," he told reporters during a press conference at the opening.

Medvedev, joined by Spanish King Juan Carlos, inaugurated the show.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." Jimmy Hendrix.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM).

Thinking about a walking vacation in Andalusia or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop? see: and

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