Spanish nineteenth-century exhibition at the Prado Museum

Mariano Fortuny,

Mariano Fortuny (1838-1873), Viejo desnudo al sol (1871), from the Prado Museum.

The Prado Museum in Madrid is showing selections from its collection of nineteenth-century Spanish paintings and sculpture. The exhibition, titled El Siglo XIX en el Prado (The 19th Century in the Prado), will be on view until April 2008.

According to the Museum, works from theperiod make up its largest and most unexamined collection. (Paintings in the exhibition have not been on display since 1993, when only a selection was on view.)

Spain had a vibrant painting culture in the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, it has been largely forgotten by Spain and ignored by the rest of Europe. Most art historians, Spanish or otherwise, can’t name a Spanish artist working between the death of Francisco de Goya (1828) and the career of Pablo Picasso in the last quarter of the century.

In my opinion, the artists and their work are anything but forgettable.

Manuel Dominguez,

Manuel Domínguez (1840-1906), Seneca after cutting his viens . . . (1871), from the Prado Museum.

Javier Barón, the Head of the Nineteenth Century Painting at the Prado, has largely the force behind the exhibition. Together with José Luis Díez, also of the Prado, he has written an excellent book introducing the collection. (Unfortunately, so far, it has only been published in Spanish.) At 518 pages (an nearly 10 lbs.), it is a major contribution to a under-published field.

Carlos de Haes, La canal de Mancorbo en los Picos de Europa, 1874

Carlos de Haes (1826-1898), La Canal de Mancorbo en los Picos de Europa (1874), from the Prado Museum.

The works on view are evidence of how profoundly Spanish artists were affected by their own past masters (e.g. Velásquez, Ribera, Goya, Murillo), Italian Masters (e.g. Titian, Veronese, Michelangelo, Raphael), and contemporary moverments (e.g. Romanticism, Claccisism, Nazarene painters, Realism, etc.).
Since the opening of the Exhibition, I have had the honor of meeting with Javier Barón and other Spanish scholars. It seems that this exhibition is only the beginning of a new understanding, if not appreciation, of a forgotten century of painters and sculptors.

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  1. Francis Giacco

    How can I purchase the Baron-Diez book on 19th Cen. Spanish Painting, or other similar books,I live in Sydney, Australia, thankyou, Francis Giacco

    • 1/10/2009

      My recommendation is to go to and search for the book through second-hand dealers. You may find someone in Australia seeling it in addition to someone willing to send it to you there.

  2. steve

    Amazon has a seller that has a couple of copies. Search under the ISBN 978-84-96209-95-4

    or you can order directly from the publisher:

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