El Ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha
Madrid: Joaquin Ibarra, 1780
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan with the Toovey Collection, 1899
CELEBRATING SPAIN'S GREATEST WRITER
In 1780 the Royal Spanish Academy created a national treasure when it commissioned Joaquin Ibarra to print a deluxe edition of Don Quixote. Regarded as one of the most magnificent books of its kind, the Academy edition includes lavish engravings, careful editorial emendations to the text, a biography of Cervantes, and the first map to chart Quixote's itinerary. The most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age, Don Quixote remained a cornerstone of the artistic imagination 175 years after its initial publication.
From the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, Spain witnessed the rise of the Catholic Church along with the flourishing of court artists who explored deeply spiritual visions. Concurrently, the nightmare of the Inquisition drove artists to probe the darker side of human nature through scenes of martyrdom and torture. Drawing played a central role in their conception of these diverse subjects—from Murillo's preparatory studies for painting commissions to Goya's private albums satirizing contemporary society. In addition to this rich tradition in Spain, Spanish artists also worked abroad, notably in Naples, which was a Spanish territory.
Visions and Nightmares marks the first exhibition of Spanish drawings at the Morgan, whose holdings in this area are small but significant. Showcasing over twenty sheets by Spanish artists spanning four centuries, this selection traces the shifting roles and attitudes toward the art of drawing in Spain.
This online exhibition was created in conjunction with the exhibition Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings, on view January 17 through May 11, 2014 and organized by Edward Payne, Moore Curatorial Fellow.
This exhibition is made possible by the A. Woodner Fund.