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The fourth edition of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation School of the Baroque gets underway "Artistic Despoilment in the West: The unredeemed sevillian heritage(1810-1813)"

November 19, 2007

  • Monday 19th November at 6:30 pm, opening address “Myths of the War of Independence” by Ricardo García Cárcel, professor of modern history at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.
  • Open to the public until seating capacity has been filled.

Seville, 19th November 2007.- Today the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) officially have opened the fourth edition of the School of the Baroque. Entitled this year Artistic Despoilment in the West: The Unredeemed Heritage (1810-1813), the school will last until Friday, 23rd November. It is being held at Seville’s Hospital de los Venerables, the headquarters of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation.

This fourth edition is being organised by Ignacio Cano Rivero, museum conservator for the Autonomous Government of Andalusia. Likewise, Isabel Lobato Franco and José Ignacio Martínez Ruiz, both professors at the University of Seville, will act as adjunct coordinators of the course.

The lecture series in this edition, revolving around the despoilment of works of art, was inspired by the “return home” of Diego Velázquez’s work “Santa Rufina” which was painted by the artist during his stint in Seville. All the lectures will centre around two tragic times in European history: the clash between Spain and Napoleon’s troops, and the Nazi army’s persecution of the Jews. These two events unleashed vast scenes of war which made possible the massive despoilment of the victims.

At different points in history, this despoilment also affected Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia, although the two aforementioned cases were highly representative as they had the common denominator of having resulted from a war by invaders trying to seize the land at two key junctures in contemporary history.

This new edition has a roster of top internationally renowned professionals with CVs that dovetail perfectly with the main theme.

Intense, fascinating analysis of the time
Ricardo García Cárcel, professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, was asked to deliver the opening address on “Myths of the War of Independence”, thus paving the way for the other lectures to delve into a more specific aspects of the subject.

Tuesday the 20th will begin with a talk on the despoilment of Spain at the time of the French invasion. It will then continue with other dissertations on specific deeds that took place in the city of Seville by Gabriele Finaldi, Adjunct Director of Conservation and Research at the Museo del Prado, who will talk about the Murillo paintings seized and their relationship with Don Justino de Neve, protector of Murillo and founder of the Hospital de los Venerables.

On Wednesday the 21st the lecturers will discuss the despoilment activities by Napoleon’s troops both inside and outside Spain. Thursday the 22nd will close the Napoleonic series with an explanation of the expropriations made in Genoa, Italy. There will then be a talk on the illegal trade in Spanish works of art and a detailed analysis of the painting “Santa Rufina”. The problem of the despoilment of the Jews by the Nazis will also be examined in depth.

Finally, on Friday the 23rd Sarah Jackson will discuss the role of technology in recovering our artistic heritage. The series will be closed by Gary Tinterow, specialist in 19th century art, with lecture entitled “The Discovery of Spanish Painting in France”. Tinterow served as the organiser and curator of the exhibition called “Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting”. With more than 240 works on display, it became the first show to analyse the influence of 17th Spanish painters on the works by 19th century French artists.

The School of the Baroque is the outcome of a cooperation agreement between the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and the Menéndez Pelayo International University. This agreement has materialised in two schools with three-year programming, one devoted to the Baroque and the other to energy and climate change. All the courses are part of the academic course offerings at the UIMP in Seville, making this city’s Hospital de los Venerables a forum for gathering and reflection led by internationally esteemed professors and researchers. The schools are held as university courses, each with 30 classroom hours.

Created by Abengoa in 1982, the mission of Focus-Abengoa Foundation is to put Abengoa’s social action policies into practice. It conducts non profit activities of general interest, and its actions are focused towards welfare efforts, education, culture, science, research and technical development. The Foundation has become a valuable instrument within the culture of Abengoa. Not only is it capable of attending to the professional and personal development of Abengoa's employees, but also of connecting with the new sensitivities of society as a whole through the management of intangible assets whose impact benefits and is spread by the values and goals of the company itself.

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