Museo de Bellas Artes
Gallery and Historic Building in Seville
The Museo de Bellas Artes is a museum of fine arts, housed in the beautiful former Convento de la Mercedin in Seville, Spain. The museum provides an elegant showcase for a comprehensive collection of Spanish and Sevillan paintings and sculptures. Works date from the 15th to 20th centuries, but the onus is very much on religious paintings from the city’s 17th-century. In the 17th century, Spain underwent a spectacular flourishing in the arts, during the period known as the Siglo de Oro (Golden Century). And its best representation is the work of the Seville-born Diego de Silva y Velázquez. He is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of all time.
The collection at Museo de Bellas Artes
The art gallery is divided into 14 rooms distributed in chronological order. The religious theme is predominant and only the most modern works are separated from them.
The Golden Age masterpieces clustered in rooms 5 – 10. The first of which, room 5, is in the old convent church. It is currently dedicated to the masters of the Sevillan baroque of the first half of the 17th century, especially Murillo. His Inmaculada concepción grande (1650) at the head of the church displays all the curving, twisting movement so central to baroque art. Other artists represented include Pacheco (teacher and father-in-law of Velázquez), Juan de Valdés Leal, Zurbarán (look for his deeply sombre Cristo crucificado, c 1630–35) and sculptor Juan Martínez Montañés.
Room 8 houses the Baroque compositions by Valdes Leal and 10 the series of convent paintings by Zurbarán.
El Greco’s portrait of his son Jorge Manuel (c 1600–05), Velázquez’s Cabeza de apóstol (1620), and a portrait by Goya in sala XI.
Rooms 12, 13 and 14 show the Andalusian painting from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The History of Museo de Bellas Artes
It is located in the plaza of the Museum of Seville, the building was the headquarters of the old 13th century Merced Calzada Convent. The land on which it was built was land donated by Fernando III to the order, after he conquered Seville.
The building itself was built in 1594, with extensive work being carried out in the first decades of the 17th century thanks to, Fray Alonso de Monroy, general of the Order since 1602. In 1603 the architect and sculptor ‘Juan de Oviedo y de la Bandera’ presented plans and instructions for construction, which began with the demolition of the old Mudejar building. In 1612 the temple was completed although it took almost 50 years for the rest of the building to be finished. The building is a good example of the Andalusian mannerist style.
It is built around three patios which are decorated with flowers, trees and the distinctive Seville tile work.
The museum was founded in 1839, after the shuttering of religious monasteries and convents, collecting works from across the city and region.
Other names of Museo de Bellas Artes
The Museo de Bellas Artes has the following names: Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla, Museum of Fine Arts of Seville.
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