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The Focus-Abengoa Foundation will participate in the major Velázquez exhibition in Vienna and Paris

October 20, 2014

  • The Foundation will lend two works by the Sevillian artist, Santa Rufina and Inmaculada.
  • The Hospital de los Venerables will display El Cristo Atado a la Columna con San Pedro by Pedro de Campaña and an Inmaculada by Pacheco, while the exhibition is in progress.

Seville, 20 October 2014. - The Focus-Abengoa Foundation announced today that it will be contributing to the major international exhibition on Velázquez that will be on display in Vienna and Paris. It will lend its two works by Velázquez for the exhibition – Santa Rufina and Inmaculada – both important works from the artist’s time in Seville. During this temporary loan period, the Focus-Abengoa Foundation will be adding two new works to the permanent collection of the Velázquez Centre, which will be on display until July 2015 at the Foundation’s headquarters in the Hospital de los Venerables. The Foundation has signed a temporary loan agreement with the Archbishopric of Seville and the Archicofradía Sacramental de la Exaltación religious association of the church of Santa Catalina in Seville.

The signing was attended by Anabel Morillo, director general of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation; Fernando García Gutiérrez, SJ, the diocesan representative for artistic heritage; and Emilio Gómez Piñol, professor of history of art.

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation will therefore lend the works Santa Rufina and Inmaculada by Velázquez to the prestigious exhibitions dedicated to the artist in autumn 2014 and spring 2015 in Vienna, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, in what will be the largest ever retrospective in Central Europe, which will then go on display at the Louvre in Paris. The city of Seville will be represented by the Focus-Abengoa Foundation with two of its key works, which will hang alongside hugely important paintings such as The Forge of Vulcan, from the Museo Nacional del Prado; Venus at her mirror, from the National Gallery in London; or The Water Seller of Seville, from the Wellington Collection at Apsley House in London.

During the months that these international exhibitions are on display, the Velázquez Centre is fortunate to benefit from a loan of Cristo Atado a la Columna con San Pedro, by Pedro de Campaña, one of the finest paintings of the Sevillian renaissance, from the Archicofradía Sacramental de la Exaltación religious association of the church of Santa Catalina in Seville; and Inmaculada, by Francisco Pacheco, on loan from the Archbishopric of Seville. This is a magnificent opportunity to see these two works that are not normally on public display, as the work by Pacheco usually hangs in the private rooms of the Archbishop’s Palace, while the church of Santa Catalina, home to the panel by Campaña, is currently being restored.

In the place of Santa Rufina, Campaña’s work Cristo Atado a la Columna con San Pedro (Christ tied to the column with St Peter) illustrates the influence on Velázquez of the Flemish artists based in Seville. The work dates from 1547 and demonstrates the prevalence of northern European painting during Velázquez’s formative years in the workshop of Francisco Pacheco. The imposing figure in Cristo Atado a la Columna is silent, contemplative and restrained. Its heightened drama is reinforced by the subtle chiaroscuro that blurs the outlines of Christ’s idealised anatomy, clearly inspired by classical sculpture and attributed to the masterful draughtsmanship of Pedro de Campaña. The work was restored by the Andalusian Institute of Historic Heritage for the exhibition curated by Juan Miguel Serrera and Alfredo Morales and held in Seville in 1999, and its imposing presence opened the exhibition. Campaña was the most famous painter in the 16th century art world, and Pacheco himself included him in his Book of True Portraits. Velázquez admired the concept of the portrait, which is executed with great realism as can be seen in the natural appearance of the two kneeling figures to the left of the composition –among the finest examples of Campaña’s portraiture and which manage to convey all the eloquence of a face in prayer.

The Inmaculada by Francisco Pacheco creates the mould for successive artists in its representation of the mystery of the Virgin, and became one of the archetypal influences on 17th century Sevillian painters. The landscape in the lower part of the painting depicts the attributes and appellations of the Virgin in the Scriptures. Velázquez would himself incorporate this careful and realistic style and the optical innovations into his own versions of the Inmaculada, such as the one in the National Gallery in London and the one belonging to Focus-Abengoa in Seville, and would continue to do so for the rest of his life. The picture on display here is perhaps the simplest of all those painted by this master, if we compare it to the others by him conserved in Seville, and which feature a portrait in the lower part of the painting.

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation created the permanent collection of the Velázquez Centre in 2008. Today it has become an exemplary space for recovering the city’s lost heritage. The acquisition of the Santa Rufina painting by Velázquez marked the start of a commitment to rescue the city’s heritage and represented a qualitative step forward that gave rise to the Diego Velázquez Research Centre, considered to be a leading international centre for naturalism in early-17th century painting and sculpture in Seville. This work has been internationally recognised.

Today the Velázquez Centre is a unique space for reflection and studying the Seville period of the young artist, exhibiting masterpieces that constantly rotated in order to understand the precedents and influences on Velázquez, as well as the impact of his own work. In short, the Focus-Abengoa Foundation offers visitors a unique opportunity to see two masterpieces of Sevillian painting that come from the pictorial universe that surrounded Velázquez during his formative years. Throughout his extensive and productive career, the artist always preserved a thread of continuity with his formative experiences and memories from his time in Seville.

Focus-Abengoa Foundation

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation was created in 1982 as a result of the cultural work begun in 1972 by Abengoa with the publication of the works Temas Sevillanos (Themes of Seville) and Iconografía de Sevilla (Iconography of Seville). A collection of documents, books and engravings on the Kingdom of Seville and by Sevillian authors was created during the same period. This initial cultural work showed Abengoa’s directors the importance of the company’s involvement in activities that directly benefit society, beyond the firm’s core technology work, which led to the creation of the Seville Cultural Fund Foundation. The Hospital de los Venerables, a 17th century monument and the headquarters of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation in Seville, has housed the Diego Velázquez Research Centre, a leading institution for studying and disseminating the Baroque era and the Sevillian period of this universally renowned artist, since the acquisition of Velázquez’s Santa Rufina by the Foundation in 2007. The focus on this crucial era of the Golden Age is complemented with the legacy from Professor Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, bequeathed to the Foundation in 2011. It comprises his library, photo library, personal archive and art collection and is being catalogued to help create a library specialising in the art and culture of the Baroque period.

For more information:

Abengoa Communication Department

Patricia Malo de Molina

Tel: +34 954 93 71 11


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El Cristo Atado a la Columna con San Pedro by Pedro de Campaña

El Cristo Atado a la Columna con San Pedro by Pedro de Campaña

Inmaculada by Pacheco

Inmaculada by Pacheco

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