SEVILLE.- The Immaculate attributed to Velazquez by Jonathan Brown and to Alonso Cano by Alfonso Perez Sanchez, and even to both painters, both of them students of Francisco Pacheco, will form part of the Collection owned by the Velázquez Center in Seville, for whom the Focus-Abengoa Foundation has acquired the painting.
Benito Navarrete, head of the Centro Velazquez, and who teaches at the Universidad de Alcala de Henares and a disciple of Perez Sanchez, was the person in charge of presenting today the painting and reaffirmed his conviction that the work is by Cano, even though he cannot dismiss that both painters, Velazquez and Cano, could have intervened in the painting during their formation period.
"It is a masterpiece in its genre, it does not leave you indifferent", said Navarrete, for whom there is no doubt that the painting was made by Francisco Pacheco´s student, sometime between 1618 and 1620, during the time that Cano and Velazquez where in their formative period.
In the words of Navarrete, both painters "wet their brushes in the same can, while the analysis to the pigments prove that they are the same that Velazquez used and were also used in Pacheco´s workshop.
Dean Lopez Cepero cataloged the work in 1813, valued at that time at 10,000 reales, as made by Velazquez, together with another painting made by Velazquez "Imposición de la casulla a San Ildefonso", precisely the same painting that now hangs together with the Immaculate at the Velazquez Center, in the Hospital de los Venerables.
To the other side a sculpture of The Immaculate Martinez Montañes has been placed, to show the characteristics of the painting, in which the figure of the Virgin is like a painted sculpture, which reinforces the theory that Cano was the author.
Navarrete highlighted the similarity between this Immaculate and Velazquez´ Immaculate in the National Gallery which, curiously, towards the end of the 18th Century belonged to Dean Lopez Cepero.
This Immaculate, as the other one, has a landscape, a ship and the Guadalquivir below her feet.
The painting was sold in France in 1870, in 1990 it reached a price of 18 million Francs, after passing through the Getty in Malibu and the Louvre in Paris, to be auctioned at Sotheby´s in 1994 for 4 million Pounds, which nobody bought at that time.
Anabel Morillo, head of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, did not reveal the price for which the painting was bought, but did say that it is very far below what local media have published.
Morillo only said that the acquisition was made through a private deal between the foundation and Sotheby´s and that the deal states that the painting will never leave Seville.