Martin de Vos
Amberes, Belgium, 1532-1603
Oil on oak panel, 133.7 x 174.5 cm
Donated by Horacio Echevarrieta in 1919
The theme represented by De Vos in this painting was related by Ovid in his Metamor-phoses. The god Jupiter, in love with Europa, daughter of the Phoenician King Agenor, turned into a bull to abduct her and take her to Crete, where he made her his. The young girl can be seen in the background, before the abduction, playing on the shore with her companions while Mercury glides in the sky surrounded by cupids, one of whom holds Jupiter’s rays in his hands. Martin de Vos was inspired by a composition painted by Titian between 1559 and 1562, at present kept at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Having reached his artistic maturity, he revealed his skill in the execution of grounds and of anecdotal details (in the purest Flemish tradition), and in the portrayal of the female nude. This figure is impeccably rendered in sfumato, and the light seems to emerge from the flesh through soft transparencies. The yellow robe and the undulating red cloth grant the composition its colour and movement. In short, this work—one of the best and most interesting of those by De Vos—reveals a perfect synthesis of Italian taste and his refined Flemish training. Martin de Vos probably began his career in the workshop run by his father, Pieter de Vos. He travelled to Italy around the year 1552 accompanying Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and settled in Rome and Florence. In Venice he worked in Tintoretto’s studio as a specialist in landscape painting. Upon his return to Antwerp in 1558 he became the most distinguished Italianate artist in the city. [A.S.L.]
Independently of its permanent collection, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum regularly organises temporary exhibition programmes.
Please consult the exhibition calendar for more information about the museum's latest proposals.
Usually classed as a realist painter, Antonio López (born in Tomelloso in 1936) is one of the most idiosyncratic artists at work in Spain after the Civil War. From the 1950s, he has produced drawings, engravings, paintings and sculptures, fashioning an oeuvre of a remarkable technical virtuosity that somehow seems outside time, despite focusing on the realistic representation of living beings and objects. López’s iconographic repertoire always springs from the reality of the visual world and oscillates between scenes of intimacy and the vast outdoors: portraits, still life works, interiors and domestic objects jostle with broad panoramic views.
In 1992 film director Víctor Erice shot the extraordinary El sol del membrillo (The Quince Sun), which concentrates on Antonio López’s creative process, on the intensity with which the artist contemplates objects. This act of rapt attention gives the film a halo of silence and a sensation of time suspended, which moves the viewer to a similar state of meditative absorption. the painter’s highly distinctive use of light contributes enormously to the dreamlike, metaphysical atmosphere, to the suggestion of the visible as a door, slightly ajar, to the invisible.
Despite his realist style, Antonio López has shaped an oeuvre independent from the other, more recent European realist or naturalist trends and from American hyperrealism. What he seeks in the reality that surrounds him are the quotidian aspects that awaken his interest; he works slowly and painstakingly towards his goal of capturing the essence of the sitter or of the objects or the land- and cityscapes portrayed. Curated by historian Guillermo Solana, art director at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, and the artist' s daughter María López, the exhibition will include a very complete overview of the oeuvre of Spanish artist Antonio López.
The selection of around 130 works, oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, represent his most recurrent themes: interiors, where the fantastic and emotive irrupt into daily life, the human figure, landscapes and the famous cityscapes of Madrid and Tomelloso, and his fruit compositions.Although works dated between 1949 and 2010 will be on show, the project concentrates largely on his output from the last two decades, which will include signature works like his earliest, slightly surreal family portraits, the legendary view of Madrid’s Gran Vía and the drawings of his studio. But attention will also be paid to more recent works, some of which are still unfinished and, logically, as yet unseen.
The exhibition as a whole will highlight the slow, meditative process by which Antonio López, one of today’s leading and most admired Spanish artists, arrives at his art.
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09|23|14 • 01|12|15
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THE GUEST WORK
10|15|14 • 01|12|15
THE GUEST WORK
07|02|14 • 10|13|14
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