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Portrait of Spain

English: Prado Museum, in Madrid (Spain). Espa...

Today my friend, Penny, and I went to see, The Portrait of Spain Exhibition, at the Queensland Art Gallery. It was absolutely magnificent, over 100 paintings that we both looked at in awe. The Prado art gallery in Spain is being renovated, and these  wonderful paintings are on loan. It is the largest and most important loan from The Prado ever. There are many artists from 16th,17th, and 18th century. There were paintings by El Greco,Ribera, Rubens and Goya, Melendez, Rizi, and many others. The paintings show the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Royal family, then they move on to the Enlightenment period. There were many portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. One of my favorites was Alonso Coello’s painting of the infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia painted in 1588. Coello was a court painter to Philip II. The jewels, the headdress, and her dress,(or should I call it a costume?), she was wearing showed how rich and powerful the aristocracy was at that time. They had absolute power over the country,and it’s colonies.  This photo I found doesn’t show the color and texture of the painting when you see it in the flesh, so to speak. You feel like you could reach out and touch the material it looks so real. Coello uses the light to make the dress come alive. I just loved it. It’s hard to see in the photo but she is holding a cameo of her father in her hand to show her ancestry. Her headdress is tall to show she is powerful, and head and shoulders above everyone else.  The jewels and the magnificence of the dress show how wealthy the family was. Isabella was the oldest daughter of  Philip II  and she went on to become a very powerful figure in her own right. She was born in 1566 and died in 1633. Isabella became sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands in the Low Countries and the north of modern France, together with her husband Albert. What a wonderful experience to be able to see such great art.

Alonso Sanchez Coello | La infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia Magdalena Ruiz (The Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia and Magdalena Ruiz) 1585-88 | Collection: Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid | © Photographic Archive, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid



One comment on “Portrait of Spain

  1. pennygeorge
    August 13, 2012

    The exhibition is amazing and I would definately recommend doing the tour, as our tour guide made the paintings come alive! The above painting of the Infanta, is nothing short of breathtaking!, just that painting alone is worth the price of admission and I could have sat and gazed at it for hours, words can not express how mesmerising such a magnificent artwork it is. I am blessed to have an ‘Art Gallery Buddy’ to share these experiences with. xoxoxo


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