2010 Exhibitions at the Prado Museum

The Art of Power. Arms, Armour and Paintings from the Spanish Court
March 8 to May 16, 2010
Rooms A and B

Following the exhibition “The Art of Power: Armour and Portraits from Imperial Spain”, held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in 2009, in 2010 the Museo del Prado will be holding “The Art of Power: Arms, Armour and Paintings from the Spanish Court”. The exhibition will comprise an outstanding selection of objects loaned by the Royal Armoury in Madrid, displayed alongside a major group of paintings that reveal how the great painters of the day emphasised arms and armour when representing the power of the Spanish monarchy from the Renaissance onwards. “The Art of Power: Arms, Armour and Paintings from the Spanish Court “provides a unique occasion to see a group of masterpieces that could only be brought together in the Prado, set within the context of the armed portrait.

Founded at the height of the Spanish monarchy’s international power and splendor, the Royal Armoury in Madrid is the oldest and one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. Largely built up by the Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) and his son Philip II (1556-1598), it houses not only the personal arms and armor of the Spanish monarchs but also a number of military trophies and diplomatic and family gifts.

Invited work: “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit”, 1882 by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)
March 16 to May 30, 2010

In the spring of 2010, the Prado will be exhibiting the portrait “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit” by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (Massachusetts, USA). The painting will be exhibited at the Museum as part of its program “The Invited Work”, whose aim is to present to the public paintings from other collections that, for various reasons, establish relationships and points of comparison with works in the Museum’s own collection. On this occasion, the comparison will be with “Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez, a work that directly inspired Sargent, who was one of the leading portraitists of his day.

Sargent painted “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit” in 1882, commissioned by Edward Darley Boit, an American collector and friend of the artist. Sargent admired the work of Velázquez, which he studied and knew well, producing various copies on the basis of a trip to Spain that he made in 1879. In the present portrait, which is one of his masterpieces, Sargent reveals the influence of Velázquez in the treatment of the light and atmosphere, which are the starting points for a work of mysterious naturalism and intense but restrained expressivity.

Willem de Pannemaker. “The Mercury Series”
June 1 to September 26, 2010

Active from 1535 to 1581, Willem de Pannemaker was a member of one of the most celebrated families of weavers in Brussels. Pannemaker is considered the great tapestry-maker of the Flemish Renaissance, working for the aristocracy and the principal royal families of 16th-century Europe. He supplied the courts of Charles I of Spain (Charles V of Germany) and that of his son Philip II with numerous masterpieces. Pannemaker’s monogram and the quality stamp of the city of Brussels and the Duchy of Brabant, which were obligatory on tapestries from 1544 onwards, appear on the series of “The Loves of Mercury and Herse”, formerly in the Medinaceli ducal collection.

For the first time the Museo del Prado will bring together in its galleries this magnificent series of eight mythological tapestries, which are now dispersed among important collections and private institutions such as the Fundación Ducal Medinaceli, the Alba Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Prado. The latter has two from the series, which use gold and silk thread to depict Ovid’s verses on the loves of the god Mercury, son and messenger of Jupiter, and Herse, daughter of the king of Attic.

“Turner and the Masters”
22 June – 19 September 2010

On June 22, 2010 the Prado will inaugurate the major exhibition “Turner and the Masters”, currently on show in London (Tate Britain, 23 September 2009 to 31 January 2010), and subsequently to be shown in Paris (Grand Palais, 22 February to 24 May). The exhibition looks at the way that Turner produced his work in full awareness of the art of the great Old Masters, whom he studied in depth, while simultaneously paying attention to the artistic activity of a number of his contemporaries.