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Marta Cacho Casal, Winner of the Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez Research Prize

December 4, 2009

Seville, 4 December 2009. Dr Marta Cacho Casal has been announced as the winner of the Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez International Research Prize: "Velázquez and his century", for her research entitled "Francisco Pacheco and his Portraits Book". The award is worth 24,000 Euros.

The jury at this first edition comprised the specialists Aurora Egido Martínez, of the University of Zaragoza; the art critic Alvar González-Palacios; Richard Kagan of John Hopkins University (USA); Ronda Kasl from the Indianapolis Museum (USA); Manuela Mena Marqués, from the National Prado Museum; Benito Navarrete Prieto of the University of Alcalá de Henares; Jesús Urrea Fernández of the University of Valladolid and Anabel Morillo León, Director General of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation.

The jury agreed about "the thoroughness and the scientific quality of the work, which represents a new contribution to the figure and the work of the painter from Seville, Velázquez's master, in the historical, artistic and literary context of his time", and "the suitability of the work to the profile of the bases of the award".

Anabel Morillo, Director General of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation said, "the Focus-Abengoa Foundation created this award to encourage researchers and scientists to develop new initiatives that add value in areas such as art, history, culture, literature and the aesthetics of the century in which Velázquez lived and which therefore contribute to better understanding the work of the Sevillian painter and the essence of his painting".

Marta Cacho Casal holds a doctorate from the Warburg Institute in London and currently works as a museum assistant in the Department of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum. Born in Rome in 1976, she graduated in geography and history from the University of Santiago de Compostela in 1998. Her research work includes "Gonzalo Argote de Molina and His Museum in Seville" published in 2006 in Burlington Magazine, and "Painters' use and ownership of Guillaume Du Choul's 'Discours de la religion des anciens Romains'" for the University of Nottingham, in addition to various reviews of books and exhibitions. She has also organised seminars for the Society of Renaissance Studies.

The Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez International Research Prize: "Velázquez and his century" is dedicated to assessing, detailing and continuing the work of the art historian Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, a leading researcher and educator whose work placed special emphasis on Italian and Spanish painting, and on studies about Velázquez and the art of that era. His passionate and selfless collaboration with the Focus-Abengoa Foundation was key to the success of the Foundation's numerous exhibitions, such as "Tres siglos de dibujo sevillano" (Three centuries of Sevillian drawing), "Pintura española recuperada por el coleccionismo privado" (Spanish painting revitalised by private collecting), or "De Herrera a Velázquez" (From Herrera to Velázquez), among others. Furthermore, Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez's work as an artistic adviser to the Focus-Abengoa Foundation was fundamental to the acquisition of the Santa Rufina by Velázquez.

The efficient and impartial cultural work that Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez carried out was also evident during his time as Director of the Prado Museum. He had a decisive management style and he left his hallmark on all the renovation and modernisation work that he undertook with resolve and energy, including the new layout of the rooms, the exhibition policy and the launch of the education office. During his time, the Prado hosted the most thorough scientific exhibitions ever seen at the museum, such as the Velázquez retrospective (1990), which changed the international image of the institution around the world.

Focus-Abengoa Foundation

Created by Abengoa in 1982, the Foundation's mission is to implement Abengoa's social action policy, which it does on a non-profit basis with general interest objectives focussing on welfare, education, culture, science, research and technological development. The Foundation has become a valuable instrument in Abengoa culture. Not only is it capable of providing support for the professional and human development of its employees, it is also capable of relating to society's new sensibilities as a whole, globally managing intangible assets whose influence benefits and pervades the company's own values and objectives.

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