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nternational Symposium on Naturalism at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation

February 3, 2006

  • Organised in connection with the exhibition From Herrera to Velázquez. Early Naturalism in Seville, it brings together the world’s leading experts on naturalist painting.
  • The symposium, which will take place at the Hospital de los Venerables, explores different aspects of the lines of research opened by the exhibition.

Seville, 3 February.- The International Conference on Naturalism opens today at the Hospital de los Venerables, headquarters of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation. Organised in connection with the exhibition From Herrera to Velázquez. Early Naturalism in Seville, it sets out to examine in depth the new lines of research suggested by the show. The participating researchers and scholars are regarded as leading world authorities in their area of expertise, such as Mina Gregori, a specialist in Caravaggio; Gabriele Finaldi, a scholar of Ribera’s Italian period; Jean Louis Augé, an expert on the painting of Pacheco; and Manuela Mena, who has made novel contributions to our knowledge of Velázquez’s oeuvre.

With naturalist painting in Seville during the first third of the 17th century as the main theme, this symposium not only marks an approach to the exhibition From Herrera to Velázquez. Early Naturalism in Seville, but is also an invitation to debate and reflection among the scientific community.

Lectures will be held daily throughout the week and the symposium ends on Saturday 11 February with a round table moderated by Alfonso Pérez Sánchez in which the participants will debate on the lines of research opened by the exhibition. Lectures will be free, limited seats available, giving the opportunity to those people who are interested in the exhibition of knowing more about the topic of Naturalism and having a deeper understanding of this exhibition.

Programme of the International Symposium on Naturalism

Monday, 6 February, 20.00: Caravaggio in Spain, by Mina Gregori, director of the Longhi Foundation and head of department at Florence University, who will discuss the key works linked to Sevillian painting, as well as collecting and the presence of the artist’s works in Spain. Professor Gregori discovered Caravaggio’s authorship of The Sacrifice of Isaac in the Piasecka Johnson collection, which is shown in the exhibition.

Tuesday, 7 February, 20.00: Ribera and Spain, by Gabriele Finaldi, director of conservation and research at the Museo Nacional del Prado, who devoted his doctoral thesis to studying the years Ribera spent in Naples and was involved in the Ribera exhibition organised by the Prado in 1992.

Wednesday, 8 February, 20.00: Velázquez and Pacheco, by Jean Louis Augé, director of the Musée Goya in Castres (France), who has carried out various studies on appraising and restoring some of Pacheco’s most important works housed in the Musée Goya, as well as on the relationship between this artist and his disciple, Diego Velázquez.

Thursday, 9 February, 20.00: Velázquez and the Legacy of Antiquity, by Manuela Mena, head of department at the Museo Nacional del Prado, who will present one of the most novel contributions on the interpretation of The Water Seller of Seville and Velázquez’s ability to rework the legacy of classical antiquity.

Friday, 10 February, 20.00: From Herrera to Velásquez. Early Naturalism in Seville, by Benito Navarrete, curator of the exhibition together with Alfonso Pérez Sánchez and a lecturer at Alcalá University. Professor Navarrete will speak about the two years of work leading up to the exhibition and the aspects that guided its preparation. He will also provide new scientific conclusions arising from the exhibition and make known new works by Velázquez’s circle in Seville.

Saturday, 11 February, 13.00: Round table on new lines of research in the study of naturalism, coordinated by Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, curator of the exhibition and honorary director of the Museo del Prado. The participants are Ignacio Cano, director of the Museo de Bellas Artes of Seville; Vicente Lleó, from Seville University; Benito Navarrete, from the University of Alcalá, and Enrique Valdivieso from Seville University.

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation was established in 1982 as a result of the cultural initiative begun by Abengoa in 1972 with the publication of Temas Sevillanos (Sevillian Themes) and Iconografía de Sevilla (Iconography of Seville). During this period Abengoa also built up holdings of documents, books and engravings on the Kingdom of Seville or by Sevillian authors. This initial cultural effort led Abengoa’s directors to realise the importance of making the company known beyond its core technological activities by embracing a purpose that would benefit society as a whole. And so was born the Fundación Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla.

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