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Catholic Reformation Art to be Shown at Musée Jacquemart-André
Ecole madrilène, Corrida royale sur la Plaza Mayor de Madrid, 1ère moitié du XVIIe siècle. Huile sur toile, 135 x 200 cm. Collection Pérez Simón, Mexico. ©Fundación JAPS. Photo : Arturo Piera López.

PARIS.- For the first time ever, the Musée Jacquemart-André presents a group of paintings never before exhibited in France. The exhibition brings together works from different periods and various artistic movements, offering a fascinating aesthetic and artistic journey. Displaying these works side by side reveals the continuities and breaks with tradition that have marked the evolution of Spanish art.

The Golden Age of sacred painting
With the works of El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the visitor is taken to the heart of the different facets of Catholic Reformation art. The artists, often influenced by mystical ideas, portrayed a world aspiring to celestial glory in striking chiaroscuro effects. Tenebrism then gave way to the luminous paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of the Spanish Baroque masters, who left behind a great many followers in Seville. This religious art was countered by a secular art dominated by the great court portraits and sensitivity of Goya.

An Hispanic art of portraiture and court life
Whilst being great collectors with an interest in Italian and Flemish art, the Spanish monarchs nonetheless commissioned Spanish artists to paint their portraits. From Sanchez Coello to Goya, the artists seamlessly blended the portrayal of power with that of reality.

From the assertion of a national identity…
The opposition to the Napoleonic occupation, the slow emergence of a modern state and Europe’s discovery of the riches of Spanish civilisation throughout the 19th century helped to establish the feeling of a strong national identity. In large scenes from everyday life, this movement set out on canvas all the beauty of traditional costumes and scenes of rejoicing towns, developing too, a taste for intimate subjects, beach games, playing in gardens and family life. Joaquin Sorolla is the undisputed master of scenes portraying simple pleasures. Vivid, strong, brilliant colours light his canvases.

…to modernity
The transition to what we call “modernity” is always seen in terms of continuity and innovation. The treatment of light has become the watchword of Sorolla’s heirs while colour has been influenced by French Impressionism.

The exhibition finishes with those great Spanish masters who revolutionised Western art. Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí established dialogues between Cubism and Surrealism. A rich selection of graphic and pictorial works by these artists offers a striking insight into this evolution up to and including Tapies.

Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, a dicerning collector
A successful Mexican businessman of Spanish origin, born in Asturias in 1941, Juan Antonio Pérez Simón is a well-known figure in the collecting world. Over a period of about ten years, his passion for art and taste for culture has led him to acquire a magnificent collection: paintings, sculptures, drawings, etchings, decorative objets d’art and manuscripts together with a library of more than fifteen thousand books.

This world famous collection is one of the most important in South America, both for its comprehensive character and the fame of the artists represented. Juan Antonio Pérez Simón talks about his artistic choices as an extension of his personality: “I have built up a personal world that reflects what defines me and excites me. Anyone who, like me, does not have that wonderful gift of creating beauty through art, can console themselves by admiring works of art and enjoying the process of falling in love with them.” A lover of all the European schools, the pictures presented at the Musée Jacquemart-André represent the Hispanic part of his collection, least familiar to the general public.

Musée Jacquemart-André | Spanish Art | El Greco | Jusepe de Ribera | Bartolomé Esteban Murillo | Catholic Reformation Art |

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