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200 people at the opening of the series on Rubens organized by the Friends of the Prado Museum Foundation and the University of Madrid.

The first session was given by Alejandro Vergara, curator of the national art gallery.

FotoManuelCastells/Alejandro Vergara during his speech.

26 | 01 | 2023

More than 200 people attended the first session of the lecture series that the School of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Navarra organizes at partnership with the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado. The main theme of this new edition, which will run until February 15, will be the figure and work of Pedro Pablo Rubens.

The opening ceremony, held at the Museo Universidad de Navarra, was presided over by Ángel J. Gómez Montoro, president of the board of trustees of the Museo Universidad de Navarra; Julia Pavón, dean of the School of Philosophy y Letras; Mary Carmen Peña, corporate financial director of group Viscofan, the sponsoring entity; and Nuria de Miguel, administrative assistant general of the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado. Also present were Virgilio Sagües, patron of the Fundación Diario de Navarra, partner institution; and Mercedes Jover, director of the Museo de Navarra, who was in charge of introducing the first speaker of the series, Alejandro Vergara, Head of Conservation of Flemish Painting and Northern Schools up to 1700 at the Museo del Prado. 

After a tour of Rubens' biography, "marked by the search for triumph and recognition in the courtly world," Vergara stopped at his work, largely inspired by classical antiquity and Renaissance painting. As he explained, "he admired the beauty of the ancients but did not copy it, but tried to understand it in order to make it the basis of his art". In this sense, the speaker said that art "is understood as a great chain, composed of links, where artists like Rubens are aware of the link with the previous, being part of a genealogy to which he wants to give continuity".

Possessing a broad humanist training and influenced by beauty and ancient texts, he promoted a very Italianized painting, which began to be in demand at the time. One of his biggest clients was King Philip IV, which is why the Prado Museum houses the largest issue of the more than 1,500 works he produced: "He was a hyper-productive painter. Although we have the largest collection, to have a complete picture of his work it is necessary to visit several museums around the world". To conclude, he affirmed that Rubens "learned to understand life and the world in an exalted way, something he reflected in his works where nature is sovereign, because life emerges from it". 

The next session of the series will take place on February 1, at 7 p.m., at the Museo Universidad de Navarra. It will be given by Palma Martínez-Burgos, professor of Art History at the University of Castilla-La Mancha. Tickets can be purchased on the Museum's website and at locker.

Mercedes Jover, Mary Carmen Peña, Nuria de Miguel, Alejandro Vergara, Ángel J. Gómez Montoro, Julia Pavón, Virgilio Sagües and Blanca Galbete. PHOTO: Manuel Castells