El Divino Morales at The Prado // Madrid

We also caught Prado’s ‘El Divino Morales’ exhibition of the work of Luis de Morales. Morales is one of the most significant Spanish artists from the Renaissance period. The show focusses on altarpieces and devotional panels, two formats that he championed.

For fifty years he lived and painted in Extremadura and was certainly the most prolific painter of that area.

He was influenced by Flemish traditions of the 1400-1500s as well as Italian Renaissance artists and formed a style combining these two. The Prado tells us that this contributed to the commercial possibilities and successes at the time of his work; his audience recognised the religious subjects and loved the emotionally charged manner in which they were painted.

There is a section of the exhibition devoted to his paintings of the Passion, one of his keys subjects. His figures are almost silhouetted against dark backgrounds and beautifully sculptural.

Museo Nacional del Prado // Madrid

Last weekend we had a wonderful trip to Madrid and had time to explore the spectacular collection at the Museo Nacional del Prado.

As well as enjoying their permanent collection, they had a fantastic exhibition of rock crystal carvings from Renaissance Milan; ‘Arte Transparente’.

The exhibition analysis's the technique of carving rock crystal, which has been relatively unexplored by galleries. There are twenty exquisite examples on display, with fourteen alone coming from the same group known as ‘The Dauphin’s Treasure’. The other six on display come from historic collections including pieces from the Medici family from Florence.

As a material, rock crystal is known for being prestigious and luxurious. During the Middle Ages it was even associated with the celestial, while now it carries a hefty price tag. In Milan it emerged during the 16th Century as royal and wealthy families became interested in its beauty and value.

Works of beauty in materials like this have always intrigued us, particularly as their status fits in both domestic interiors and gallery settings.