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The international symposium "Saint Rufina. Velázquez: From devotional works to court scenes" gets underway

February 25, 2008

  • Entrance is free until seating capacity is reached.
  • Students from the Universities of Seville and Pablo de Olavide may earn elective credits for attending the lectures.

Seville, 25th February 2008.- On the 10th, 11th and 12th of March, the "Diego Velázquez Research Centre" will be holding its first international symposium at the Church of Los Venerables, headquarters of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation. The symposium will be entitled Saint Rufina. Velázquez: "From devotional works to court scenes" and it will be held parallel to an exhibition by the same name in the main exhibition hall of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation. This show will include Velázquez’s painting "Saint Rufina", along with "The Imposition of the Chasuble on Saint Ildefonso" and other paintings on loan from the Museo del Prado: "sibila" and "Infanta Doña María reina de Hungría".

This initiative, sponsored jointly by the Seville Town Hall and the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, is the result of the centre’s focus on education, with the goal of making accessible and sharing scientifically the context of each work and its place within the exhibition discourse, which will explain the background and consequences of Velázquez’s painting.

For three days, the Foundation will welcome personalities from the art world who are experts in the oeuvre of this Seville-based painter, including Carmen Garrido, head of the Technical Office of the Museo del Prado; Peter Cherry from the Department of Art History at Trinity College of Dublin, expert in Velázquez’s oeuvre; José Milicua, emeritus professor at the University of Barcelona; Enrique Valdivieso, professor at the University of Seville; Tanya Tiffany, professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin, whose studies focus on the theory and practice of art in Spain’s Golden Age; Zahira Velíz, of London’s Courtauld Institute, and Tom Burns, renowned journalist and writer.

Entrance to the lectures is free for all citizens until seating capacity is reached. Students from the Universities of Seville and Pablo de Olavide may earn elective credits for attending the lectures (one and a half credits at the University of Seville and three at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide).

This symposium, to which the leading national and international experts in Velázquez’s oeuvre have been invited, seeks to clarify the importance of the painting "Saint Rufina" within the context of the artist’s oeuvre as a whole.

The lectures will revolve around five points: the attributive debates that have emerged about "Saint Rufina", with the aim of giving the leading experts a forum for setting forth their theses backed by solid, proven arguments; the technical issues arising from the restoration of the work, backed by radiographic analyses and pigmentation tests of Velázquez’s works; the idea of femininity in Velázquez’s works; the iconography of this saint in Spanish painting; and the intrinsic history of the work, as well as its passage through different collections over the years.

Given the transcendence and importance of the permanent recovery of "Saint Rufina" for the city of Seville, not just because of its symbolic value as it portrays one of the city’s patron saints, but also especially because of the affection citizens feel for it, this symposium will be the utmost expression of these values, while it will also furnish more in-depth knowledge of Velázquez’s works executed in Seville, whose transcendence on all levels remains indisputable.

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation was created in 1982 as the outcome of the cultural efforts begun by Abengoa back in 1972 with its publication of "Sevillian Topics and Iconography of Seville". During this same period, a collection of documents, books and engravings on the Kingdom of Seville and Sevillian authors was also amassed. This initial cultural impetus led Abengoa’s leaders to realise the importance of going beyond the company’s merely technological functions with activities that would benefit society. Thus, the Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla Foundation was born.

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