The outstanding quality of the Óscar Alzaga Villaamil donation makes it a significant addition to the Museo Nacional del Prado
The donation comprises 7 paintings encompassing a broad chronological span, from the late 16th to the mid-19th centuries, by artists from Spain, Italy and Bohemia. All of them were painted in Spain with the exception of the Ligozzi, but four were acquired abroad by the donor, for which reason their entry into the Prados collection represents an important enrichment of Spains national artistic heritage.
For the first time, the Museo Nacional del Prado is exhibiting the 6 paintings that entered its collections last March thanks to the generous donation made by Óscar Alzaga Villaamil, which also included a financial contribution that has been used to acquire the Portrait of Manuela Isidra Téllez-Girón by Agustín Esteve, also included in this exhibition.
The donation enriches the Museums holdings and allows it to complete the artistic profiles of the artists who painted them, filling in gaps in the collection. Allegory of the Redemption by Jacopo Ligozzi (1547-1626) depicts the Triumph of Christ over Death and is the first allegorical work by this Medici court artist to enter the Prados collection. An exquisite, small-scale Saint John the Baptist by Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779), the great Bohemian artist and court painter to Charles III, further enriches the Museums extensive holdings of Mengss work. Saint Ildefonso receiving the Chasuble by Juan Sánchez Cotán (1560-1627) provides an example of a religious painting that complements the artists better-known activities as a still-life painter.
The Prados holdings of Spanish devotional painting are also enriched with The Immaculate Conception by Antonio del Castillo (1616-1668), in a unique interpretation of a key subject in Andalusian painting, and with Saint Jerome by Francisco de Herrera the Elder (ca.1590-ca.1654). The donation is completed by a spectacular Romantic landscape by Eugenio Lucas Velázquez (1817-1870). Following its inclusion in the Museums exhibition The Challenge of White. Goya and Esteve, portraitists to the Osuna Family, the final work on display here is Manuela Isidra Téllez-Girón, future Duchess of Abrantes by Augustín Esteve, acquired with funds from the Óscar Alzaga donation.
The publication that accompanies this exhibition includes an introductory text by Manuela Mena, Chief Curator of 18th-century Paintings and Goya at the Museo del Prado. The entries on the works are written by the Museums curators in the relevant fields: Virginia Albarrán (Agustín Esteve); Javier Barón (Eugenio Lucas Velázquez); Miguel Falomir (Jacopo Ligozzi); Gudrun Maurer (Anton Raphael Mengs); Javier Portús (Antonio del Castillo); and Leticia Ruiz (Juan Sánchez Cotán and Francisco de Herrera the Elder).