Captive Beauty ―Treasures from the Prado Museum
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum Tokyo (三菱一号館美術館)
2-6-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
The Prado Museum
Art in Europe up until the 18th century had been something to be enjoyed by only a limited section of society, such nobility and the clergy, but there were radical changes at that time with the idea that art was for everyone, and in Spain, the Prado Museum was opened as the Royal Museum in 1819.
The main characteristics of the museum was not only its requisitioned works but its Royal Collection which formed the nucleus of the collection. Because of this, the Prado Museum developed as a unique art museum with a highly individual collection, different from one that encyclopedically covers all periods, nationalities, schools and movements in the art world.
This collection has its origins in the Flemish art favored and collected by the Catholic monarchs in the 15th century, with sovereigns through the ages favoring respective artists under their patronage according to their taste and passion, and buying their works for their collections. Following this, in 1700, with the demise Charles II, the last ruler of the House of Habsburg and the establishment of the House of Bourbon, there was a change in tastes resulting in artists being called from France.
In this way, Prado Museum reflects the taste and passion for art of successive sovereigns beginning in the 15th century. The Prado Museum is one of the world’s most eminent art museums, but this is not due to its scale and diverse works, rather it is due to the passion for art that exists in this collection with a depth and quality that are unparalleled.
The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of works of art and historic documents. The Prado Museum continues to be one of the most important museums in the world today.
1. A Collection of Great Individuality Born out of Passion
In the 16th and 17th centuries when Spain was at the height of its power in Europe, successive sovereigns accumulated works of art from all over the continent. Built around a core of works that strongly reflect the preferences and passion for art of the rulers of Spain, the Museo Nacional del Prado, which opened to the public as the Royal Museum in 1819, boasts a collection of unparalleled individuality. The present exhibition draws on Captive Beauty – Fra Angelico to Fortuny, a well-received exhibition organized by the Prado in 2013 and now specially reconfigured to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo.
2. Showcasing the Masters of European Painting
In terms of style, the works on show span 500 years, from the 15th to the 19th centuries, covering the five countries and regions of Spain, Flanders, Italy, the Netherlands, and France. We have brought together, under one roof, a rich selection of substantial works by renowned masters of European painting, including the three old masters of Spanish painting, El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya, the Flemish masters Bosch and Rubens, as well as the painter referred to as “the Raphael of Spain,” Murillo.
3. An Opportunity to Treasure
The works of art selected for this exhibition are of modest dimensions, yet they span several genres and themes, allowing visitors to appreciate the masters for their elaborate expression, exquisite texture and diversity of materials. The exhibition also brings together 35 paintings on panel, which are subject to strict limits on transport and public display for their own protection. In a first for Japan, genuine works of Bosch, of which only 20 exist in the world, will be shown.
Image: Anton Raphael Mengs, María Luisa de Parma, 1765, oil on canvas 48x38cm © Archivo Fotográfico, Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid.