This landmark exhibition will present a visual narrative of the history of Spanish culture, bringing together outstanding works from Spain and colonial Latin America, from antiquity to the early 20th century. Spain and the Hispanic World will reflect the great diversity of cultural and religious influences, from Celtic, Islamic, Christian and Jewish to American, African and Asian, that have shaped and enriched Spanish culture across four millennia. Presented chronologically, the selection of over 150 works will include paintings, sculptures, silk textiles, ceramics, lustreware, silverwork, precious jewellery, maps, drawings and illuminated manuscripts.
Founded in New York in 1904 by Archer M. Huntington, the Hispanic Society Museum & Library is home to the most extensive collection of Spanish and Hispanic art outside of Spain. This is the first time the collection will be presented in the UK.
Exceptional paintings will include The Duchess of Alba, 1797, by Francisco de Goya (1746- 1828) as well as Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, c. 1625-26, and Portrait of a Girl, c. 1638-42, by Diego Velázquez (1599-1660). The exhibition will also include paintings by Luis de Morales (1510/11-1586), El Greco (1541-1614) and Francisco de Zurbarán (1598- 1664) as well as post-Impressionist and modern artists such as Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923), Ignacio Zuloaga (1870-1945) and José Gutiérrez Solana (1886-1945). The final section of the exhibition will feature a large-scale panoramic gouache for the Vision of Spain, the monumental site-specific mural painted by Sorolla for the Hispanic Society between 1912 and 1919.
Sculptures will include polychrome reliquary busts such as Saint Acisclus, c. 1680, by Pedro de Mena (1628-1688), considered to be one of the most important sculptors in 17th century Spain, as well as the Mater dolorosa and Ecce homo, 1675, by his daughter Andrea de Mena (1654-1734).
Highlights from the Hispanic Society’s collection of decorative arts will include exceptional earthenware bowls from the Bell Beaker culture, c. 2400-1900 BC, Celtiberian jewellery from the Palencia Hoard, c. 150-72 BC, discovered in Palencia in 1911 during the construction of a railway cutting, Hispano-Islamic silk textiles including the Alhambra Silk, c. 1400, which recalls the tile designs of the Alhambra palace complex in Granada, as well as some of the finest examples of lustreware from the 14th -16th centuries from Manises, Valencia.
Spain and the Hispanic World will also include treasures from the Hispanic Society’s renowned library, the most important collection of Hispanic manuscripts and rare books outside of Spain. Highlights will include a beautifully illuminated Hebrew Bible, after 1450-97, and an exceptionally rare Black Book of Hours, c. 1458, which was probably commissioned by María of Castile (1401-1458) upon the death of her husband, Alfonso V of Aragon (1396-1458).
Rarely seen objects from Spanish colonial Latin America, of which the Hispanic Society boasts a particularly significant collection, will create a compelling parallel narrative to cultural developments taking place across mainland Spain. Highlights will include the celebrated World Map, 1526, by Giovanni Vespucci (1486-after 1527), one of the most impressive nautical charts produced during the Age of Exploration, which was probably intended as a gift for Charles V on his marriage to Isabella of Portugal, as well as the Map of Tequaltiche, 1584, from the Relaciones Geográficas, made on the order of Philip II. Other Latin American works will include a remarkable collection of decorative lacquerware from Colombia and Bolivia, a group of four polychrome sculptures from Ecuador (see above), The Four Fates of Man: Death, Soul in Hell, Soul in Purgatory, Soul in Heaven, c. 1775, attributed to Manuel Chili, called Caspicara (1723-1796), as well as paintings such as the Young Man from the Coast (El Costeño), c. 1843, by José Agustín Arrieta (1803-1874).