The Hispanic Society has organized for the first time a major international traveling exhibition, Visions of the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library. The exhibition includes over 200 of the Hispanic Society’s most exceptional works from its renowned museum and library collections. This exhibition spans over 4,000 years of the art of the Iberian Peninsula, and of Latin America from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Visions of the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library brings together more than 200 works of art including paintings, drawings, Old Master prints, and sculpture; archaeological artifacts, decorative arts, rare 19th-century photographs, and manuscripts from the library, creating a fascinating chronological and thematic experience of the highlights of the collections. The extraordinary selection of paintings includes masterworks such as Portrait of a Little Girl and Gaspar de Guzmán, Conde-Duque de Olivares by Velázquez, Pietá by El Greco, The Prodigal Son by Murillo, Santa Emerentiana by Zurbarán, and the emblematic Duchess of Alba by Goya, conserved at the Museo Nacional del Prado for this exhibition. Also represented are paintings by post-impressionist and modern artists, such as Zuloaga, Sorolla, Santiago Rusiñol, and Anglada Camarasa. Masterpieces from viceregal and 19th-century Latin America include St. Sebastian (Mexico, ca. 1603-07) by Alonso Vázquez; Saint Michael the Archangel Triumphant over Satan (Mexico, 1630s) by Luis Juárez; St. Michael Striking Down the Rebellious Angels (Mexico, ca. 1640) by Sebastián López de Arteaga; the enconchado painting The Wedding at Cana (Mexico, 1696) by Nicolás Correa; a casta painting (Mexico, ca. 1715) from the earliest known series by Juan Rodríguez Juárez; Doña María Catalina de Urrutia (Puerto Rico, 1788) by José Campeche; and the iconic Young Man from the Coast (Mexico, ca. 1843) by José Agustín Arrieta.
Among the works of sculpture are an exceptional Roman portrait bust of a youth (ca. 138-50 AD); the alabaster Effigy of Mencía Enríquez de Toledo (1498) from the Workshop of Gil de Siloé; polychrome reliquary busts of Saint Martha and Saint Mary Magdalene (ca. 1545) by Juan de Juni; the exceptionally lifelike polychrome bust of St. Acisclus (ca. 1680) by Pedro de Mena; the terracotta group The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine (1692-1706) by Luisa Roldán; and from Latin America the polychrome altar panel of Santiago Matamoros (Mexico, ca. 1600), and the phenomenal group of polychrome sculptures The Four Fates of Man (Ecuador, ca. 1775) by Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara.
The Hispanic Society has masterpieces in all areas of the decorative arts. Included in Visions of the Hispanic World are Bell Beaker culture ceramics (ca. 2400-1900 BC); Celtiberian jewelry from the 2nd century B.C.; an exceedingly rare Umayyad carved ivory pyxis by Khalaf from Madinat al-Zahra (ca. 966); Hispano-Islamic silk textiles of the 13th-15th centuries that include the only known complete “Alhambra silk”; some of the finest examples of lusterware from the 14th-16th centuries; and fabulous ironwork from the 15th and 16th centuries. Drawn from the Hispanic Society’s magnificent collection of ceramics are tin-glazed earthenware from Talavera and Alcora, along with Buen Retiro porcelain, spanning the 16th-18th centuries; and Latin American ceramics and lacquerware of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Visions of the Hispanic World also includes numerous treasures from the Hispanic Society’s renowned library, the most important collection of Hispanic manuscripts and rare books outside of Spain. Included in the exhibition are royal charters from the 12th-15th centuries; the Black Book of Hours (ca. 1486) of María de Castilla; a gloriously illuminated Hebrew Bible (1450-1497); Map of the World (1526) by Juan Vespucci; the holograph instructions of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to his son Philip II (1534) on how to be a king; the Zapotec Genealogy of Maccuilxochitl (Mexico, ca. 1570); and the Map of Tequaltiche (Mexico, 1584) from the Relaciones Geográficas prepared for Philippe II.
The exhibition catalogue has been organized and edited by Mitchell A. Codding, Executive Director of the Hispanic Society and Curator of the exhibition, in collaboration with recognized specialists. The catalogue entries were prepared by Constancio del Álamo, Marcus B. Burke, Mitchell A. Codding, Patrick Lenaghan, Margaret E. Connors McQuade and John O’Neill, curators of Hispanic Society Museum & Library.
Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, Spain (March 31 – September 10, 2017)
Visions of the Hispanic World was inaugurated at the Museo Nacional del Prado, occupying all three temporary exhibition galleries in the Rafael Moneo extension, and attracting nearly 500,000 visitors from 4 April to 10 September 2017. After viewing the works at the Hispanic Society prior to the exhibition, Miguel Zugaza, former Director of the Prado, commented:
“I have to say the collections of the HSA are astoundingly rich and the remarkably fitting acquisitions of the last few years, a revelation. This is truly a major hidden treasure in both America and Europe. We decided to expand certain aspects of the first list so that all three main spaces of our exhibition galleries would be filled, as we did for the Hermitage show. In sum, we are off on a dream journey. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes. Mexico City, Mexico (June 25 – September, 25, 2018)
The exhibition was inaugurated in June 2018 at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, more than 50,000 people visited over its three month period.
Albuquerque Museum. Albuquerque, New Mexico (November 10, 2018 – March 31, 2019)
The exhibition, Visions of the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, was a tremendous success at the Albuquerque Museum, its first North American venue. Almost 50,000 people visited the exhibition over a period of 4 ½ months.
The visitor books were filled with praise and thanks; here are a few of the comments:
“Excellent! We came all the way from Mexico to see this exhibit, more specifically, the Lost Map of Tequaltiche, which wasn’t included in the Mexico City exhibition. We are from Teocaltiche, Jalisco. The other works of art are marvelous too! Congratulations Albuquerque, for having the privilege of showing this wonderful exhibit.”
“Thank you for choosing Albuquerque to bring this exhibit to. As a native to New Mexico, the treasures captured the beautiful influence of Spain, Mexico and other influences of my cultural experience.”
“Thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition. Albuquerque is fortunate to receive this opportunity to host such works for us to enjoy and experience.”
Cincinnati Art Museum. Cincinnati, Ohio (October 25, 2019 – January 19, 2020)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Houston, Texas (March 1 – January 10, 2021)