ST. PETERSBURG, FL.- Dalí and the Spanish Baroque is on view at the Salvador Dalí Museum as the Museum enshrines a celebrated period in the history of Spanish art. Dalí and the Spanish Baroque, the Museums next major exhibition, is on display through June 24, 2007. Dalí and the Spanish Baroque showcases legendary paintings by seventeenth century masters of Spanish Court painting including Diego de Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán, Jusepe de Ribera, Bartolomé Murillo, Alonso Cano, Juan Sánchez Cotán and El Greco. The masterpieces, on loan from many of the worlds top institutions, will be situated throughout the Dalí Museum galleries alongside a large and revealing selection of works by Salvador Dalí from the Museums permanent collection, illustrating the profound influence these artists of the Spanish Baroque period had on Dalí, and by extension, on the history of modern art.
Baroque refers both to the period dating to roughly the seventeenth century and the style that dominated it. Baroque art evolved as a reaction to the worldly art of the Late Renaissance. The Baroque bears greater emotionalism, is characterized by more muscular and anguished figures, and is more dramatic than the art that immediately preceded it. Encouraged by the most important patron of the arts during the period, the Catholic Church, the Baroque movement can be seen as a return to tradition, naturalism and spirituality. Works by Rubens, Rembrandt, El Greco, Vermeer and Velázquez define the period.
The motivation for Dalí and the Spanish Baroque is to provide a visual counterpoint to what is generally considered the origins of Dalís work in Modernism, writes Hank Hine, Salvador Dalí Museum Director. We are delighted to present masterpieces of this era both for the benefit of our community and for the revealing light it shines on Dalí.
Salvador Dalí became familiar with Baroque models of painting at the Museo Nacional del Prado and other institutions during his academic formation in Madrid during the 1920s. Throughout his career, he incorporated Baroque characteristics into his work. The influence of these artists and the Baroque style show themselves in the realism of his early work, as well as in his preoccupation with the aspiration, suffering, and martyrdom of saints prevalent through his mid and late career.
Following the Second World War, Dalí self-consciously adopted a Baroque style of painting with an emphasis on realism and dramatic lighting in the representation of conventional Catholic religious subjects. Dalí later developed a keen interest in the art and personal life of Velázquez and his role as official painter to the royal court. Beginning in 1951, Dalí based his own self-image in self-portraiturespecifically the flamboyant style of his mustacheon Velázquez's portraits.
William Jeffett, an international authority on Salvador Dalí and Spanish Art and the Dalí Museums Curator of Special Exhibitions, co-curates Dalí and the Spanish Baroque with Suzanne Stratton-Pruitt, an art historian renowned for her writings on Velázquez. Dalís fascination with the Baroque predated Surrealism and manifested itself throughout his career, said Jeffett. Dalís later work is conventionally seen in opposition to his earlier Surrealist period, however, the shift was rooted in Surrealism and other intellectual strands of avant-garde literary thought, which had rethought the Baroque, added Jeffett.
The exhibition will contain art borrowed from top museums in the U.S and Spain including the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid; Sarasotas John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; High Art Museum, Atlanta; Cleveland Museum of Art; Lowe Art Museum, Miami; Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Mass.; San Diego Museum of Art; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Kresge Art Museum, East Lansing, Mich.; The Oscar B. Cintas Foundation, and a private collection.
Highlights of the exhibition include El Greco, Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1590-1595; Diego de Velázquez, Philip IV Wearing Armor, with a Lion at his Feet, ca. 1632-1654 and The Jester Calabazas, ca. 1631-32; Juan Sanchez Cotán, Saint Sebastian, undated; and Francisco de Zurbarán, The Vision of St. Anthony, ca. 1630. The exhibition will comprise 60 works, 15 of which are borrowed from other institutions.
Dalí and the Spanish Baroque is made possible by Progress Energy, the Museums 2006-2007 Season Sponsor, and a frequent and generous supporter of the Salvador Dalí Museum. The St. Petersburg Times is the media sponsor for the exhibition, with additional support provided by Northern Trust, the Embassy of Spain and the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club.
The Salvador Dalí Museum, which holds the pre-eminent American collection of the artists work and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2007, is sponsored in part by the Pinellas County Arts Council, the City of St. Petersburg, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council. For more information about the Salvador Dalí Museum, please visit the Museum web site at www.SalvadorDaliMuseum.org or call (800) 442-3254.