CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Key Women in the Creation of the Prado’s Collection, from Isabella I of Castille to Isabel Clara Eugenia

Research Conference: 7 March - 8 March 2022

On 7 and 8 March the Museo del Prado will organize the international symposium Key women in the creation of the Prado’s collection, from Isabella I of Castille to Isabel Clara Eugenia. The symposium is directed by Noelia GarcĂ­a PĂ©rez , professor of Art History at the University of Murcia.

The creation of the collections of the Museo del Prado is closely linked to the artistic patronage undertaken by some of the most prominent female figures of the Spanish monarchy, from Isabella I of Castile to Isabel II. Nonetheless, it is easy to pass through the Museum’s galleries without observing this fact and without appreciating that some of its masterpieces are the result of women’s support for the arts.

To mark International Women’s Day (8 March), the Museo del Prado is bringing together leading international specialists for a symposium which will aim to draw attention to the women who promoted, collected and inspired some of the museum’s most iconic works: women whose activities, dating between 1451 and 1633, coincide with the period between the birth of Isabella the Catholic and the death of Isabel Clara Eugenia. These queens, princesses, regents and governors played a key role not just with regard to the promotion of works of art but also in the principal settings of power and were largely responsible for the internationalisation of the Spanish monarchy.

This academic event will focus on issues of a methodological nature, analysing different historical trends and documentary sources relating to the subject of study. In addition to looking at who these women were and how their political responsibilities had a decisive impact on the works of art they commissioned, the principal lines of research deriving from these patrons’ artistic patronage in relation to the Museum’s collections will be presented, singling out their role as artistic and cultural mediators between the European courts. Alongside the theoretical sessions, a series of participative tours of the Museum will assist with a visualisation of both these women and the works of art they commissioned. These tours will offer a female-centred route through some of the great masterpieces in the Museo del Prado that fall within the chronological scope of this symposium (1451-1633).


The sessions are open for in-person attendance until all places are filled. Online participation will also be possible via a link to the Zoom platform which will be provided to all those who register for the symposium.
There will be simultaneous Spanish-English translation throughout the symposium. The language in which the talks are given coincides with the one used for the title to announce it.

Download the program (PDF file).  For more information and to register, see the Prado’s website.