Diego Velázquez: Die Drei Musikanten, um 1616-20 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Jörg P. Anders
El Siglo de Oro – the golden age of Spanish art – remains one of the most important and popular chapters in European cultural history. This summer in Berlin, a major exhibition showcasing 17th century Spanish painting and sculpture in all its fascinating variety will go on show outside of Spain for the first time. El Siglo de Oro: The Age of Velázquez will comprise 150 masterpieces by Velázquez, El Greco, Francisco de Zurbarán, and Bartolomé E. Murillo, as well as lesser-known artists such as Alonso Cano and Gregorio Fernández.
Beginning 1 July 2016, the Gemäldegalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will pair its collection of Spanish paintings – one of Germany’s most important – with numerous international loans for the large-scale exhibition. Many of these works will be on display for the first time in Germany, and will reveal the wealth of 17th century Spanish art on a scale never before seen. A central task of the exhibition will be to provide a comparative perspective on the development of painting and the sculpture of the period.
Focusing on the trajectories of the artistic centres of Toledo, Valencia, Seville, and Madrid, the exhibition traces historical developments in Spain, where art production was inseparably linked with the political and social developments of the 17th century. Spanish art reached its apex at a time when the country – previously the most powerful in Europe – was confronted with a continuous loss of political power and the increasing influence of Protestantism. Developing out of the conflict between king and church, the era’s visual language and iconography primarily served as an instrument of political propaganda, intended to maintain the illusion of strength and stability.
The exhibition offers viewers a unique opportunity to acquaint themselves with this important era in the history of European art through original paintings, sculptures, and drawings.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive educational program and a series of concerts, films, and lectures at Berlin’s Kulturforum.