|Portrait of actress Antonia Zárate|
Francisco de Goya
In the Hermitage museum in Amsterdam there is a very special exhibition at the moment, with Spanish masterpieces.
There are paintings from the 16th and 17th century. This was a golden age for the Dutch art, but also for the Spanish artists. King Philip II was caught up in a lot of wars and wanted to show to the world how powerful and rich he was. He commissioned a new palace (the Escorial) and artists from all over Spain were in service to the crown to show both the regality of the royal family and the strength of the Catholic church.
This exhibition is quite amazing, since there are hardly paintings by Spanish artists in The Netherlands. To see their works, you usually have to go to Spain. Luckily the Hermitage in St. Petersburg has the largest collection Spanish art outside of Spain and now a part of that collection can be seen in Amsterdam.
The style of the Spanish work is slightly different than what I am used to from Dutch paitings from the same century. But I did like it very much with the stately portraits of members of the royal family and beautiful religious themed works like St. Francis bt Zurbarán or the apostles Peter and Paul by El Grego. There are also works by Velazques, Goya, Ribera and Murillo.
In the 19th and 20th century Spain had to deal with the terrible Napoleontic wars, and a couple of civil wars after that. This had its influence on the art of course.
Picasso may be the most famous Spanish painter from the 20th century and there was a painting in the exhibition I liked immensely (a boy and his dog), and I am not even really a fan of Picasso. Unfortunately, there was no postcard of this paintingL
There are not just paintings, but also weapons, ceramics and religious artifacts.
As usually the exhibition is put together very well and there is every chance to admire the paintings. I saw a lot of things that made me quiet and where I spend a lot of time looking at it to study it in detail. The details, the use of colour and the contrast between light and dark are very well displayed.
Spanish masterpieces can be seen until May 29th 2016 at the Hermitage in Amsterdam.