The exhibition Hidden Beauty will offer an historical-artistic survey of the Museo del Prado’s collections through more than 250 paintings in which the common denominator is their small size, reflecting their function as cabinet paintings or preparatory studies
The exhibition opens with 14th-century examples of scenes from portable altarpieces and from altarpiece predellas. It also includes works of this type from the 15th century, as well as intense, intimate devotional paintings by Flemish, Italian and Spanish masters and mythological scenes painted from the front of Italian wedding chests. The 16th-century paintings in the exhibition reveal the rise of landscape as a genre, the use of new materials such as slate or copper panels and the taste for exquisitely painted, small copies of famous paintings produced for refined clients. The 17th-century section focuses on portraiture, still life and series of paintings, with examples by Teniers and Murillo, shown alongside preparatory sketches, a format which reached its peak of expression with Rubens. The 18th century was the age of the cabinet painting, with examples by Watteau, Goya and Paret, while the exhibition concludes in the 19th century with Vicente López and Mariano Fortuny.
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