Dutch masters at the Prado

For the first time, the great Spanish art museum brings together the most representative of its extensive collection of seventeenth century artworks.

 The Prado's collection of Dutch art is virtually unknown as the works have hardly been on public display since the Forties. This new exhibition is being organised to coincide with the presentation of the first full catalogue of the collection, as well as with the arrival of a new painting, The Company of Captain Reijnier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw, by Franz Hals and Pieter Codde, on loan from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Hals is considered one of the great masters of portraiture and his work is comparable to that of Spain's Velazquez: both made great efforts to transmit the feelings and attitudes of the subjects depicted in their paintings. Dating from 1633, this military painting by Hals is one of the masterpieces of Dutch art and its exhibition in Madrid takes advantage of the refurbishment works being carried out at the Rijksmuseum, which is due to reopen in 2013.

One of the jewels of the exhibition, open until April 11, 2010, is Judith at the banquet of Holofernes, the only recognised work of Rembrandt in a public collection in the country. This is accompanied by other major works including the landscapes Philip IV commissioned from the Both brothers (A trip to the country) and Swanevelt for the Buen Retiro Palace, as well as military scenes by Wouwerman.

The exhibition has been divided into three sections. The first includes Dutch paintings from the collections of Felipe IV and Carlos II, among which Judith presenting the head of Holofernes by Salomon de Bray, the cover illustration of the catalogue, is particularly noteworthy. The second section is of paintings from the Bourbon collection, and includes examples of all genres of the school: seascapes, winter landscape, genre scenes, stilllifes, hunting scenes, battles and historical paintings. The Rembrandt canvas, Judith at the banquet of Holofernes (formerly known as Artemisia) is included here. The third section is of new acquisitions: bequests, donations and recent purchases.

Many of the exhibits have been restored for the preparation of the catalogue, allowing a far better appreciation of the subtle gradation of colours, beautiful lighting effects and the precision of drawing of a good number of the works, whose condition previously made this impossible.

In conjunction with the exhibition of Dutch paintings, the Prado have allocated an additional room for the display of the work The company of Captain Reijnier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw, by Franz Hals and Pieter Codde, on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This painting, which forms part of the museum's Obra Invitada (guest work) programme, will be on display until February 28, 2010.

Further information:
Museo del Prado
Until 11th April, 2010