Thematic Route | Women as Art Promoters and Patrons at the Prado

Posted in conferences (summary), conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on December 28, 2022

This thematic route is one tangible result of a symposium held in March of this year, which focused on the period 1451 to 1633; a second symposium addressing the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is scheduled for 6–7 March 2023 (see the note at the end of this posting and a separate posting).

El Prado en femenino
The Female Perspective: The Role of Women as Promoters and Patrons of the Arts at the Prado
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 14 December 2022 — 9 April 2023

Developed with Noelia García Pérez

In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture’s Institute for Women, from today (14 December 2022) until 9 April 2023 the Museo Nacional del Prado is offering a new perspective on its permanent collection through a thematic route devised with the academic supervision of Noelia García Pérez, associate professor of art history at the University of Murcia. The result is a fresh viewpoint and one that encourages us to focus on the role of women as promoters and patrons of the arts.

Among all European museums, the Prado is probably the one in which women have played the most decisive role with regard to its configuration, either as collectors and promoters or through their key contribution to its foundation and existence. Works such as Van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross, Titian’s Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg, the superb bronze sculptures of Philip II and Mary of Hungary commissioned from Pompeo and Leone Leoni, and The Holy Family with Saints by Rubens would not be present in the Prado’s collection without women’s involvement.

The works included in this thematic route are associated with women who were not only notable for their activities as patrons but also in the promotion of the artists who worked in their service. One particularly notable example is that of Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566–1633). The Prado houses dozens of works directly resulting from her patronage, in addition to the fact that the Museum’s close connections with Rubens is particularly allied to the promotion and dissemination of his career on the part of the Archduchess, who was governor of the Southern Netherlands. This explains why the Prado houses the largest collection of works by Rubens in the world.

The Female Perspective reflects the first edition of the symposium Key Women in the Creation of the Prado’s Collections: From Isabella I of Castile to Isabel Clara Eugenia (Protagonistas femeninas en la formación de las colecciones del Prado: De Isabel I de Castilla a Isabel Clara Eugenia), which took place in March this year and will be followed by Key Women in the Creation of the Prado’s Collections, Part II: From Elisabeth of France to Mariana of Neuburg (Protagonistas femeninas en la formación de las colecciones del Museo del Prado II: De Isabel de Borbón a Mariana de Neoburgo), to be held on 6 and 7 March 2023.

The full press release is available here»

The Female Perspective: Women Art Patrons of the Museo del Prado (Madrid: Prado, 2022), 160 pages, €10.

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