Thanks to years of impressive international blockbusters, we’ve come to expect the very best from GoMA and QAG’s exhibitions. From Picasso to Warhol, we’ve had the biggest names grace the walls of our city, and it would take something very impressive indeed to trump that. Enter the Prado. It’s big, centuries old and very Spanish.
To say that Portrait of Spain is a coup would be a colossal understatement. Let’s start with the facts. The Museo Nacional del Prado (located in Madrid) is one of Europe’s most significant cultural institutions, with paintings dating back to the 12th century. It’s the first time the Prado has ever loaned many of these works, and the first time they have ever visited the Southern Hemisphere. The Queensland Art Gallery is the only venue for this show, and it was curated specifically for Brisbane.
- Tomás Hiepes Two fruit bowls on a table (Dos fruteros sobre una mesa) 1642 -
- Federico de Madrazo, María Dolores de Aldama, Marchioness of Montelo 1855 -
Now the word ‘masterpiece’ gets bandied around a lot. But with over 100 works in this exhibition, get prepared to fully understand what this word actually means. There is a lot to see, and a lot of rich history to absorb. Take your time going through this show and you will find there are so many different ways of looking at these works. Rich with history, culture, politics, religion and even fashion, I was particularly fond of the masterful portraits and exquisite still life imagery (read paintings of food).
Cleverly, curator Javier Portus has integrated a work from QAG’s permanent collection, Picasso’s La Belle Hollandaise, into the exhibition. And while Portrait of Spain illustrates the evolution of Spanish painting from 1550 – 1900, there is also a contemporary video installation by Italian artist, Francesco Jodice, that will transform the Water Mall for the duration of the show. Speaking of transformations, approximately 70% of the entire gallery has been given over to this exhibition, so expect some inspiring public programming and interactive environments, too.
But I have to say my personal pick is the retrospective of uber-director Pedro Almodóvar being held at GoMA’s Cinémathèque
from July 21st – September 2nd.
Enjoy the show!
Portraits of Spain: Masterpieces of the Prado
Where: Queensland Art Gallery
When: July 21 – November 4, 2012.
Pedro Almodóvar Retrospective
When: July 21 - September 2, 2012