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The exhibition of Velázquez's Santa Rufina marks the opening of the Velázquez Centre at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation

December 5, 2007

Seville, 5 December 2007.- Alfredo Sánchez Monteseirín, Mayor of Seville, and Anabel Morillo, Director General of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, have presented the Centre to the media in which Velázquez’s Santa Rufina will be displayed. The painting was bought in July by the Foundation through a collaboration agreement with Seville City Council. The exhibition of the work marks the opening of the Diego Velázquez Research Centre, which from 16.00 today will be open in the Hospital de los Venerables, the headquarters of the Foundation.

This exceptional work of art has been on display to the public in Seville City Hall since its permanent return to Seville on 3 August, thanks to the agreement, and from today it can be studied in its definitive home in the Velázquez Centre.

Access to the Centre is free for all residents and citizens of the city and province of Seville. Visitors must show an official identification document to obtain a special pass to enter the Centre. Opening times will be the same at the Hospital de los Venerables, every day from 10.00 to 14.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00. The other facilities at the Hospital de los Venerables will operate as normal.

During this initial stage, the work will be the only piece on display at the Centre, although it will be accompanied by a series of introductory interactive elements allowing visitors to learn about the picture and the circumstances behind its arrival in Seville, in both Spanish and English.

In March 2008 a specialist symposium is planned as well as a temporary exhibition which will display the Santa Rufina and the Casulla de San Ildefonso alongside two works on loan from the Prado Museum: Sibila and Doña María de Austria, both by Velázquez.

Several special areas have been set aside by the Hospital de los Venerables for the Velázquez Centre, which has been created so that the Santa Rufina is at the heart of its design. The colour schemes, the size of various elements, and so on, have all been designed based on characteristics of the painting. The brochures even have the same border as the work of art.

As an exhibition it therefore combines simplicity and sophistication in terms of its faithfulness to the work and in confronting the difficulties of creating an exhibition that centres around a single work of art. The design of the room aims to draw the viewer’s eye towards the piece that is the focus of the Centre, in a spacious but intimate room.

The space is organised into two different areas: An introductory reception and a separate area for contemplating the painting. The former has a back lit wall showing an enlarged fragment of the painting opposite the entrance. In it, the face of the Saint catches the eye of the viewer, creating a unique visual focal point for every element in the room.

This is the setting for the introductory narrative of the exhibition, with seven images also back lit, which draw stylistic parallels between the Santa Rufina and other works by Velázquez, as well as an interactive multimedia application which explains various scientific, historical and social aspects about the painting.

The second area presents the Santa Rufina in a setting free of distractions, with lighting designed to emphasise the contours of the subject. The painting will be hung on a wall at the end, so that it will always be the focus of the exhibition. The entire room has been designed to achieve maximum versatility, to allow it to house the permanent exhibition of the Velázquez Centre in the future, which will be centred around the Santa Rufina, together with the Casulla de San Ildefonso and other important works of art from the City Hall and the Archbishop’s palace. Around the outside of the room, a bevelled rail will support the back lit information cards and will also act as a protective barrier for the art.

The cultural, artistic and scientific strategy of the Centre have been defined by the scientific advisers Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, honorary director of the Prado Museum, and Benito Navarrete, professor at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares.

The exhibition has been designed by El Taller GC, managed by Juan García de Cubas, architect and museologist, and a specialist in museographical installations. As director of El Taller GC he has undertaken important cultural projects for other leading institutions, such as the Prado Museum, the Mapfre Foundation or Madrid City Hall, but the Santa Rufina is the first time that he has taken on the challenge of working with a single piece of art. His work is on display in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, and as an architect he has been awarded the Biennial Alejandría Prize, among others.

For more information. Communications Department:

Patricia Malo de Molina
Telephone: (+34) 95-493-71-11

Sebastián García
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Adrián Maesso
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