Treasures from the Hispanic Society of America. Visions of the Hispanic World

Francisco de Goya, The Duchess of Alba, 1796-1797

Francisco de Goya, The Duchess of Alba, 1796-1797

Where: Prado Museum

When: 4/4/2017 - 9/10/2017

The Hispanic Society, founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington to promote the art and culture of the Hispanic world in the United States, holds the most important collection of Hispanic art outside of our borders. With more than 18,000 works of art that spans from the Paleolithic Age to the 20th century, an extraordinary research library with more than 250,000 manuscripts and 35,000 rare books, which includes 250 incunables. There is no other institution in the world, even in Spain, that alone can offer such a complete vision of our history, art and culture.

“Treasures of Hispanic Society of America. Visions of the Hispanic World” brings together more than two hundred works of art including paintings, drawings, and sculpture; archaeological artifacts and decorative arts, liturgical vestments, furniture and manuscripts from the library, creating a fascinating chronological and thematic experience of the highlights of their vast collections.

Many of the works of art that will be shown have not previously been exhibited or were unknown, such as the reliquary busts of Santa Marta and Santa María Magdalena by Juan de Juni, and the Fates of Man, by Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara; and others have recently been identified such as the Map of Tequaltiche, which was thought to be lost. Besides the individual value of each work of art, this exceptional grouping gives context to the magnitude of the rich history of Hispanic culture in the Iberian Peninsula, America and Philippines that spans more than 3,000 years, shows a quality of art works that no museum outside of Spain can compete with, and demonstrates the passion of the unique collector who put his resources and knowledge towards the vision of creating a Spanish museum in America.

Pity and Terror. Picasso's Path to Guernica

Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937

Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937

Where: Reina Sofía Museum

When: April 5 – September 4, 2017

When in early 1937 Pablo was asked to produce a painting for the Spanish Pavilion, he told the Republic's delegates that he was not sure he could do the kind of picture they wanted. The world of his art had been till then essentially intimate and personal, bound by the walls and windows of a room; he had almost never spoken to the public realm, still less to political events; since 1925 his art had often steered close, claustrophobically, to nightmare or monstrosity. Yet the painting he eventually did for the Republic spoke grandly to the new realities of war. And the scene of suffering and disorientation he showed us has lived on, as an emblem of the modern condition, for eight decades. Guernica has become our culture's tragic scene.

Are there continuities between Guernica and the strange, often agonized vision of humanity that Picasso had set forth over the preceding decade? How did Picasso’s distinctive set of concerns, which at moments seem dark to the point of despair, inform his final picture of women and animals in pain?

One writer said of Guernica that in it the world had been “changed into a furnished room, where all of us, gesticulating, wait for death”. Since 1937, generations of viewers across the globe have found the painting's image of terror indispensable – maybe even cathartic. This exhibition asks why. It is clear that Guernica 's epic, compassionate treatment of violence moves beyond the dangerous fascination with the subject that had characterized much of Picasso's work during the late 1920s and early 1930s. But would Guernica have been possible without that previous fixation? Isn't violence very often “fascinating” as well as repellent? How does an artist represent it without falling under its spell? What is involved – psychologically, aesthetically – in giving Terror public form?