The Fundación María Cristina Masaveu Peterson presents the exhibition Masaveu Collection. Object and Nature: Still Lifes and Flower Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries at the FMCMP’s Madrid headquarters. Curated by the expert in seventeenth-century Spanish painting, Ángel Aterido, it comes to Madrid after being shown at the Centro Fundación Unicaja in Seville and the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias.
Still lifes constitute one of the most coherent thematic groups in the Masaveu Collection, both in number and quality. This exhibition brings together a significant selection, focusing on the most outstanding works from the Baroque era and Age of Enlightenment and offering a representative overview of the origins and evolution of one of the most popular motifs in western painting.
The exhibition charts the development of the still-life genre, which in Spain is known as bodegón. These paintings portray objects, fruits, animals and flowers from a short distance, paying special attention to their different consistencies and appearances. These seemingly trivial subjects first appeared in learned circles, but their enormous visual appeal sparked a growing demand among other social sectors with financial means during the seventeenth century. In contrast to historical and religious images, the spectacle of a selected fragment of nature, portrayed with surprising realism, opened up new horizons to the viewer.
Organised geographically and chronologically, the exhibition takes today’s viewers on a journey through one hundred and fifty years of still-life painting in Spain, illustrated by some fifty works by some of the most renowned practitioners of this genre: from the sober approach of Juan van der Hamen, Alejandro de Loarte and Juan de Zurbarán to the full- blown Baroque solutions of Juan de Arellano, concluding with the refined compositions of Luis Meléndez produced in the Age of Enlightenment.
The selection of works from the Masaveu Collection is complemented by new acquisitions by the Fundación María Cristina Masaveu Peterson itself—thus continuing the tradition of patronage within the Masaveu family—and a significant part of the Pedro Masaveu Peterson Collection. Four hundred and ten works from the latter collection were donated to the Government of Asturias in lieu of tax in 1994, a year after Masaveu Peterson’s death, thus fulfilling María Cristina Masaveu Peterson’s wish to honour her brother’s role as a collector. These works are on show at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, now considered one of Spain’s most important museums. For this reason, the exhibition constitutes a happy and unique reunion of artworks which, in many cases, were bought with the intention of creating interdependent groups between both collections.
| MASAVEU COLLECTION: OBJECT AND NATURE. STILL LIFES AND VASES FROM THE 17TH-18TH CENTURIES
FMCMP headquarters in Madrid
Organised by: María Cristina Masaveu Peterson Foundation
Curator: Ángel Aterido
Dates: 15 September 2023 to 28 January 2024