The Spanish Manner: Drawings from Ribera to Goya
October 5, 2010, through January 9, 2011
Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Drawings
Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652), Head of a Satyr,
c. 1625–30, chalk,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1954
Fantastic figures, supernatural visions, and the presence of the unreal or unusual are
features of countless Spanish drawings, as are the dark realities of history. In addition
to these aspects, many of the drawings on display here are characterized by the centrality of the figure, the incorporation of writing, and a preference for colored
pigments and paper.
Through the mid-eighteenth century in Spain, drawing was taught in artists’ studios.
Preferred materials, with recipes for their manufacture, were passed down in
workshops rather than through centralized academy training where standardized
methods were conveyed. Thus drawing in Spain retained diversity and idiosyncrasy
in both creation and practice. To express their ideas, Spanish draftsmen used tools like
the compass and the Andalusian reed pen and materials such as rich red chalk, white
lead gouache, imported crushed cochineal beetles, lapis lazuli pigment, and a wide
range of colored inks and tinted papers.
From the earliest drawing in this exhibition, commissioned by nuns in Seville around
1610, to a sketch for the ceiling of a miraculous pilgrimage site in Zaragoza made in
the 1770s, the assembled artworks demonstrate refined and sophisticated techniques.
Many are remarkable documents of the interaction between artist and patron, and
some are suggestions for adjustment to a design or a figure.
Created in places as varied as the court of Madrid, the pilgrimage site in Zaragoza,
the busy ports of Seville and Valencia, the Spanish kingdom of Naples, and the exotic
Córdoba, once home to the caliphs of Al-Andalus, the drawings shown here present
a glimpse of the wide range of works preserved in New York–area collections.
The exhibition is organized by Jonathan Brown, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University;
Lisa A. Banner, independent scholar; and Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator at The Frick Collection.
The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the David L. Klein Jr. Foundation, Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
The accompanying catalogue has been generously underwritten by the Center for Spain in America.