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Yo, el Rey. La monarquía hispánica en el arte

Exhibition: 1 July - 18 October 2015

Information from, 13 July 2015

Exhibition in Mexico City recreates the iconographic imagery of the Hispanic kings

From July 1st to October 18th, 2015, the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) presents the exhibition Yo, el Rey. La Monarquía Hispànica en el arte, curated and produced by the Museo Nacional de Arte. This is a comprehensive exhibit that offers the audience, through national and international masterpieces, a review of the figure of the Hispanic sovereign.

The exhibition approaches the mechanisms and representation forms of the monarch with a selection of 200 works, amongst which are paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles, jewelry, silverware, armors and historic documents.

Important international loans have been obtained through the leadership and management of the Museo Nacional de Arte, which come from the Museo Nacional del Prado, Colecciones Reales del Patrimonio Nacional, Museo de América, and Museo Lázaro Galdiano, from Spain; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Hispanic Society of America and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, from the United States, as well as national collections, such as the National Museum of Art of San Carlos, Museo Nacional del Virreinato, Museo Franz Mayer, and Museo Regional de Querétaro.

It also has the invaluable participation of religious institutions: Catedral de Sevilla, Catedral Metropolitana de la Cuidad de México, Templo de San Felipe Neri La Profesa, Museo de la Basílica de Guadalupe and more than 20 private collections.

It is important to address the decisive contribution of the Museo Nacional de Arte to the conservation of our national patrimony, because thanks to this exhibition many pieces have been restored in benefit of a better preservation of novohispanic pieces, among them the Retrato de Carlos III from Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz.

The exhibition, which was curated by Abraham Villavicencio, Vice-royalty Art curator of the Museo Nacional de Arte, is developed in four thematic cores that revolve around the King as a unifying figure of the American kingdoms, and a vast politic system known as the Hispanic Monarchy.

La herencia iconográfica del pasado antiguo refers to the significance of the founding myths of royalty and kingdom, showing how, through symbolic elements of the Roman, Indigenous and German past, the image of the Hispanic monarch was built.

La efigie real. Recursos plásticos y retóricos suggests the constitution of the sovereign’s body image through attributes denoting power, which enhance the idea of authority among the royal houses of the Spanish Empire: the Habsburgo and the Borbón.

The third core, La monarquía mesiánica y el imaginario religioso, explores the king’s performance as patron of the church through his representation and the narrow link between the state and ecclesiastic institutions.

The exhibition closes with Ecos de la monarquía en el México independiente, in which the figures of Fernando VII, Agustín de Iturbide, and Maximiliano I of Mexico appear as witnesses of the survival of the mythic, politic and religious imageries of the viceroyalty of the Nueva España, even in the independent Mexico.

“The topic acquires a new vitality when being presented as exhibition, not only for the scholars of the viceroyalty but for everyone who wants to familiarize himself with the works that are a part of the historic and artistic past in which an empire, with particular forces and dynamics, was constituted”, explained Agustín Arteaga, director of the Museo Nacional de Arte.

The exhibition articulates the development of political and juridical elements which the visitors will be able to appreciate as a rich heritage that seeks to value the Hispanic, novo Hispanic, and Mexican creators as a group with the same political and cultural identity.

Therefore, under the same curatorial speech, pieces from some of the most recognized European painters of the XVI and XVII centuries –period known as the Siglo de Oro- up to the XIX century are reunited, such as Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Francisco de Zubarán and Jean Ranc, with renowned novo Hispanic and Mexican artists, such as Cristóbal de Villalpando, Juan Correa, Baltasar de Echave Orio, Manuel Tolsá, Santiago Rebull and Felipe Sojo, amongst others.

The exhibition catalogue, with a bilingual edition, conjugates texts of six specialists from the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the Colegio de México, the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, the Museo Nacional del Virreinato, and the Museo Nacional de Arte.

The publication addresses political, legal, iconographical, and theological dimensions, besides making the historical and artistic transformations obvious with approximately 200 color illustrated pieces that narrate the construction of the image of the Hispanic monarch in the Indias.

The Museo Nacional de Arte offers a set of activities for every kind of audience: guided tours, the specialized workshop Pintura de retrato, and the summer class Conviértete en un rey, aimed for children. There will also be a film series about different visions of the monarchy, a magistral debate for academics, and a conference cycle with presenters from different national and international universities.

Besides, for the better understanding of the exhibition, all the texts of the exhibit rooms will be displayed in English and Spanish, also downloadable material is offered in the web page:

The Museo Nacional de Arte recognizes and appreciates the support of: El Patronato del Museo Nacional de Arte, Amigos MUNAL Arte Mexicano: Promoción y Excelencia AC, Iberdrola, British Airways-Iberia, and NH Hotels for the efforts made towards the creation of new projects.