The Hispanic Society Museum & Library

The Hispanic Society Museum & Library The Hispanic Society’s Museum is CLOSED for extensive renovations. During this period the Sorolla Vision of Spain Gallery and the Library will open on a limited basis, by appointment only.
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To visit please e-mail [email protected]

HSM&L Kids: Reza and Josefina return to the Hispanic Society Museum & Library for an hour of crafts and storytelling! Jo...
02/17/2021

HSM&L Kids: Reza and Josefina return to the Hispanic Society Museum & Library for an hour of crafts and storytelling! Join us this Friday, February 19th at 5pm EST! Come ready to sing, meet new friends and move to the beat! See you Zoom!

* To RSVP, please send an email to [email protected]
* Bring paper and scissors for the crafts portion

Concert Series 2020-2021: Join us on Monday, February 22nd at 5:00pm for a special livestream conversation with Baroque ...
02/16/2021

Concert Series 2020-2021: Join us on Monday, February 22nd at 5:00pm for a special livestream conversation with Baroque opera veteran, Guilliame Bernardi (Oper Frankfurt) and Elizabeth Weinfield (Sonnambula), and learn about the complicated and fascinating process of mounting an opera production. What is the stage director's role in the process of depicting a dramatic work, and how is this complicated during a streamed production? Learn about the process of making an opera from a deeply historical perspective with a behind-the-scenes look at Apolo's development in its most nascent stages.

The Hispanic Society’s 2020-2021 Concert Series is devoted to the production of the North American premiere of the opera, Apolo y Dafne (ca. 1696–99), in collaboration with the ensemble, Sonnambula. Apolo y Dafne is a dramatic opera, or zarzuela, by Spanish baroque composers Sebastián Durón (1660–1716) and Juan de Navas (ca. 1650–1719). This opera marks the most ambitious collaboration between Sonnambula and the Hispanic Society to date.

The Palacio de la Zarzuela, a royal hunting lodge just outside Madrid, takes its name from the brambly thicket of woods on which it stands. Beginning in 1657, a new genre of musical drama was performed at the Palacio. This new form, called “zarzuela,” references the wild, tangled vegetation around which it was born, a crown of laurels on Spain’s musical history. Baroque zarzuela is rarely performed in America — most manuscripts reside in Spanish libraries and have not been published in modern editions. The opportunity to premiere this zarzuela at an institution devoted to the preservation of Hispanic culture is of deep importance.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the Este New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts.

Event link: https://youtu.be/aS3EHU6dTcs

Eugenino Hermoso was born in the small town of Fregenal de la Sierra near the Portuguese border in the Spanish region of...
02/15/2021

Eugenino Hermoso was born in the small town of Fregenal de la Sierra near the Portuguese border in the Spanish region of Extremadura. Sent to study art in Seville in 1898 and then to Madrid in 1901, Hermoso was influenced by late nineteenth-century costumbrista genre painting. Thereafter, he traveled extensively to Barcelona and throughout Europe, and exhibited regularly in Badajoz and in Madrid, offering scenes of shepherdesses, young extremeños and andaluces, and also children, whose portraits he also painted to good effect. He served as professor of painting at the Escuela Superior de Pintura at Madrid, where he was also made a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in 1940. His works parallel in many ways those of Álvarez de Sotomayor in Galicia.

Children at school was painted in Hermoso’s native Fregenal de la Sierra. The little girls in their starched dresses and pinafores proudly exhibit the handicrafts and the letters they have mastered. From left, these are embroidery, a book (presumably reading), a needlepoint sampler, an embroidery pillow and a fan, bobbin lace, and, in the hands of the oldest girl at the right, a fan and a book.

Eugenio Hermoso Martínez, Children at School, Fregenal. Oil on canvas. 1904

Happy Valentine's Day from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library!Pilgrim Flask. Glass with enamel and gilt. Barcelona, c...
02/14/2021

Happy Valentine's Day from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library!

Pilgrim Flask. Glass with enamel and gilt. Barcelona, ca. 1580

Swingin' into the weekend like...This drawing, Viejo columpiándose (Old Man on a Swing), that Goya numbered “58,” is fro...
02/13/2021

Swingin' into the weekend like...

This drawing, Viejo columpiándose (Old Man on a Swing), that Goya numbered “58,” is from his Album H (Bordeaux Album II), his final album which he used in France from 1824–28. Since its first publication, the drawing has been considered a preliminary sketch for the etching of the same title, also known as Warlock on a Swing among Demons.

Goya conceived the motif of the man on the swing as a pair with an image of the old woman on the swing which he etched on the other side of the plate (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts). Differences are evident between the HSM&L drawing and the corresponding print. Although the old man of the drawing resembles the etched figure in pose, dress and attitude, he is isolated in space. Unlike the etching, he does not swing in a darkness inhabited by two shadowy, amused onlookers. Their absence produces a clearer image, causing the drawing to seem a reprise or distillation of the print. Although most scholars believe that the drawing came first, the etching may in fact have been an earlier, rejected effort. With the image still in his mind, Goya could then revisit it in the Bordeaux sketchbook. Perfected in black chalk and perhaps now planned as a lithograph, rather than an etching, only whiteness would surround the smiling old man enjoying his moment in the air. Nothing else disturbs the effect.

Clearly, Goya no longer viewed the act of swinging freely aloft as the pleasant youthful pastime he had charmingly pictured earlier in his career. The poor and shoeless old man with the broad grin might now represent the futility of the elderly, who foolishly seek to recapture their youth through childish behavior. The old man appears oblivious to the fact that he is a source of amusement as his ragged pants expose his bottom. Despite the brief time remaining to him, and perhaps regressing to his youth, he soars blissfully into the air.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Old Man on a Swing. Crayon on paper. 1823-1828

Happy Lunar New Year! Can you spot this year's zodiac animal 🐂 in this sketch for the monumental series of paintings in ...
02/12/2021

Happy Lunar New Year! Can you spot this year's zodiac animal 🐂 in this sketch for the monumental series of paintings in the Sorolla Vision of Spain Gallery?!

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Sketch for Vision of Spain (Basque Provinces), gouache on paper. 1911-19

A View from Outside: How distinguished visitors have seen our CollectionsJulian HernandezJournalist & Art Critic, Instit...
02/12/2021

A View from Outside: How distinguished visitors have seen our Collections

Julian Hernandez
Journalist & Art Critic, Institutional Relations Director of ARS Magazine, Former Deputy Director of Cultural Affairs of BBVA and Former Director of Communications of Fundación BBVA

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Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Ramón Perez de Ayala, Oil on canvas, 1920

It is not an easy task to single out one artist from among all the great masters present in the Hispanic Society’s collections; nor is it particularly simple, once an artist has been chosen, to select one of his works. But perhaps for me, Joaquín Sorolla should be the one on account of his special relationship with the Hispanic Society’s founder, Archer M. Huntington. And of his many works, I would choose the magnificent portrait of Ramón Pérez de Ayala which he created as part of the series of Spanish writers of the early 20th century.

In 1920, when Sorolla painted this portrait of Ramón Pérez de Ayala (Oviedo, 1880-Madrid, 1962) by then the author of Luz de domingo and A.M.D.G, the first examples of his early narrative, had already cultivated other genres: poetry, essays and theater. In his novels he combined the local with another more cosmopolitan vision: he had lived in London and traveled through France, Germany, Italy, and England. He also went to the United States where, in 1918, he visited the Hispanic Society.

Returning to the painting by Sorolla, we see how the Valencian master captures the elegance, almost dandyism of Pérez de Ayala. He poses in a khaki trench coat that reveals a black tuxedo underneath. While seated, his gaze is calm and his eyes vivid, and we can appreciate the free and light brushstrokes. The lean face of a 40-year-old man reveals both intelligence and the cynicism of a man of the world. His features stand out against a sketched background, a characteristic of Spanish Golden Age portraiture.

#ThrowbackThursday to when the Sorolla Vision of Spain Gallery was a Reading Room. The gallery you know today, which fea...
02/11/2021

#ThrowbackThursday to when the Sorolla Vision of Spain Gallery was a Reading Room. The gallery you know today, which features the monumental series of paintings by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, was inaugurated in 1926.

Hispanic Society of America, Reading Room, 1917

Take a look at this close-up view of an early sixteenth-century Hispano-Moresque cassolette of enameled gold with emeral...
02/10/2021

Take a look at this close-up view of an early sixteenth-century Hispano-Moresque cassolette of enameled gold with emeralds and rubies. Hispano-Moresque jewel types as well as motifs persisted not only in Spain but throughout the Mediterranean region. Enameled gold Moorish beads were inventoried in Spain in 1509, and the large, fifteenth-century Moorish beads of thin, pierced gold from the province of Almeria, regained from the Moors by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1489, have been repeated but in slightly modified form in eastern European and Mediterranean regions. Related to these beads is an enameled gold cassolette possibly once itself a bead, its terminal openings capped with table-cut emeralds set in bezels. A similar object, the ouesqa, a rounded cassolette designed to contain scent, indications of which were found in the piece illustrated, strengthens consideration of this cassolette as Hispano-Moresque, though it is similar also to beads in a necklace of Hispano-Moresque type of unknown provenance, the enamels of which have been related to seventeenth century Russian examples. The pitted green, white and deep red enamels of the cassolette, a transparent green enamel and irregularly cut emeralds and rubies are often characteristic of jewels of Hispano-Moresque origin, if nonetheless common as well to more recent provincial jewelry from eastern and Mediterranean Europe.

Cassolette made from a Barrel Link for a Necklace. Gold, enamel, gemstones. ca. 1500-1525

Happy Birthday to Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, born this day in 1815 in Rome, Italy!Pedro de Madrazo y Kuntz was the you...
02/09/2021

Happy Birthday to Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, born this day in 1815 in Rome, Italy!

Pedro de Madrazo y Kuntz was the younger brother of the artist, an important writer and, as the letter he holds in his hand declares, a lawyer at Madrid. He also knew how to dress to effect, as his elegant velvet coat, with its neo-Baroque slit sleeves, attests. Both the costume and the confident, assertive pose of the sitter, with the emphasis on one hand placed on the hip and the other holding a letter or petition, recall the baroque portraits of Van Dyck and Velázquez, both readily available for study in the royal collections, including those on view in what would become the Museo del Prado.

Like Van Dyck, Madrazo carefully focuses the highlights of the picture on the head and hands, suppressing, for example, the puffy shirt sleeve revealed through the slit in the proper left sleeve in half-shadow. The resulting image, while alluding to Don Pedro's social role, also presents him as a modern-day cavalier, in the tradition of the caballeros of the Golden Age or the English retainers at Charles I's court. Thus Madrazo, who dominated instruction at the Academy in Madrid for many decades, enlivens what would otherwise have been a standard academic portrait by the use of sources from Madrid's artistic patrimony.

This portrait was acquired for the Hispanic Society in 1913 by its founder, Archer M. Huntington.

Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, Portrait of Pedro de Madrazo y Kuntz. Oil on canvas. 1842

This exceptional and unique vase from Tonalá with late 17th-century ormolu mounts at the mouth and base illustrates the ...
02/08/2021

This exceptional and unique vase from Tonalá with late 17th-century ormolu mounts at the mouth and base illustrates the luxury status given to the búcaros de Indias by contemporary European collectors. The exotic form of the vase suggests pre-Hispanic models and is identical to another example of similar dimensions, decorated solely with burnished red slip, in the collection of the Museo de América, Madrid. What makes the Hispanic Society vase unique is the intricate decoration of birds and flowers drawn in slip that cover the entire surface. No other 17th-century examples with this type of decoration are known, though birds and flowers are found painted in slip on other Tonalá búcaros. Faintly visible on the neck and other areas of the vase are traces of gold leaf that were applied to enhance its value. Writing in 1742, Mexican historian Matías de Mota Padilla observed that the application of gilding on búcaros was done only for pieces destined for sale outside of New Spain.

Vase with Ormolu Mounts.Burnished earthenware with slip decoration, Tonalá, Mexico, ca. 1650

Happy Saturday!Ramón Casas y Carbó, Pèl & Ploma, 1899
02/06/2021

Happy Saturday!

Ramón Casas y Carbó, Pèl & Ploma, 1899

A View from Outside: How distinguished visitors have seen our CollectionsSzilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum, Phd. MLSSpecialist in ...
02/05/2021

A View from Outside: How distinguished visitors have seen our Collections

Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum, Phd. MLS
Specialist in Spanish Golden Age Drama

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The comedias sueltas collection of the Hispanic Society

There are different approaches to studying a subject in depth. One is to choose a unique or a representative object and find out everything about it. The Hispanic Society certainly has many of these as previous staff picks attest. The other approach is to identify a constellation of like objects that, when studied in relation to each other, reveal more about the subject studied than any single example could. This is the case of the tremendously rich corpus of comedias sueltas in the Hispanic Society library’s collection.

Comedias sueltas are singly printed plays starting in the 1620s and stretching to the first half of the 19th century. They display certain easily identifiable characteristics: dropped titles with double columns in quarto format. Given the great number of playwrights (1,100 by La Barrera’s account) and the great many plays they wrote (think Lope de Vega), there are an astonishing number of comedias sueltas extant, more than 2,000 of them in Hispanic Society’s collection. In looking at individual titles and comparing editions by different printers, we discover things that no detailed study of any one item would reveal.

And yet, every so often, a single printer clearly comes through the ages with an individual voice. Sometime during the last two decades of the 18th century, the Librería de Cerro was selling an edition of Francisco Leiva’s Comedia de figurón—Entre el honor y el amor, el honor es lo primero: a truly noble thought which the running header repeated on all the rectos. It must have been spring when young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love and suddenly on A3r the running header reads: Entre el honor y el amor, el amor es lo primero.

Peru is amply represented in the Hispanic Society’s collection of photographs with more than 5000 images, including the ...
02/04/2021

Peru is amply represented in the Hispanic Society’s collection of photographs with more than 5000 images, including the first images of Machu Picchu, taken on Hiram Bingham’s expeditions of 1911, 1912, and 1915, which Archer M. Huntington (Hispanic Society Founder) had subsidized along with the National Geographic Society and Yale University.

The album Souvenir de Lima shows Eugène Courret at his finest. Not only one of the first photographers in Lima but also the teacher of many who followed him there, he occupies a major place in Peruvian photography. Courret learned his art in France where he collaborated with the celebrated Nadar, then moved to Peru, becoming the preeminent photographer there. Initially, he worked as an associate or affiliate for Nadar but he subsequently established himself independently. In 1868, the firm stopped using Nadar’s logo and adopted the Peruvian coat of arms and in 1873 the name shifted from Courret Hermanos to E. Courret. These details allow one to date the Hispanic Society album to 1869–72, a prime period of Courret’s activity.

In this album, Courret records panoramas of the city and port as well as views of the cathedral, churches, and other monuments, but he does not neglect more recent buildings and spaces like the Alameda which had just been remodeled. Carefully choosing his view points, he offers an impressive record of Lima’s urban development with many compositions showing the mountains looming in the distance. Not surprisingly, his images document a city very different from that of today. Courret includes a sequence of portraits that represent a microcosm of Lima’s citizens beginning with generals and continuing with figures variously labeled as women of Lima, soldier of Rabona, muleteers, cholos, and Indians. As the figures stand before us, the diversity and complexity of 19th century Peru become vividly apparent.

Eugène Courret, Callao The Dock, in Souvenir of Lima. Albumen photograph. 1869–72

Unknown artist, Philip the Second, King of Spain, and His Children. Oil on panel. 1581-83
02/02/2021

Unknown artist, Philip the Second, King of Spain, and His Children. Oil on panel. 1581-83

Happy Snow Day! Check out our HSM&L Kids page to find art workshops, coloring pages, and puzzles to keep your family ent...
02/01/2021

Happy Snow Day!

Check out our HSM&L Kids page to find art workshops, coloring pages, and puzzles to keep your family entertained indoors: https://hispanicsociety.org/program/hsml_and_kids/

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Cathedral and Gate of Santa María, Burgos. Oil on canvas. 1910

A View from Outside: How distinguished visitors have seen our CollectionsDouglas RivaPianist, Grammy nominated artist, f...
01/29/2021

A View from Outside: How distinguished visitors have seen our Collections

Douglas Riva
Pianist, Grammy nominated artist, foremost expert on Enrique Granados' music

selects

Alexandre de Riquer i Inglada
Set of Four Posters of Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, Color lithograph posters, 1899

As a musician I have devoted a major portion of my professional life to Spanish music, especially that of Enrique Granados (1867-1916). Through studying the music of Modernisme (Modernism) I fell in love with the arts and culture of that rich and vibrant period in Catalunya circa 1885-1920.

The new acquisition of posters of the Seasons by Alexandre de Riquer i Inglada are a significant addition to the Museum's collection of Moderniste art. Modernisme was related to other concurrent international movements such as Art Nouveau, Jungendstil, the Arts and Crafts, and the Pre-Raphaelites. Moderniste artists had certain specifically Catalan preoccupations including an idealization of the past, the influence of Gothic art as well as the use of curving undulating lines in both graphic and furniture design which resulted in a wide range of very beautiful and distinctive works of art, architecture, literature, theater and music.

Riquer originally created his Seasons for the home of the Alomar family in Barcelona. Each composition is exquisitely represented by a woman surrounded by seasonal flowers in delicate colors with the exception of Winter whose bleakness is depicted by the woman’s wind-blown hair as she is walking on a stone beach, perhaps collecting shellfish.

Granados’ piano work El jardí d’ Elisenda (Elisenda’s Garden) serves as a musical complement to Riquer’s Spring. The music is filled with similar delicacy and Gothic nostalgia. To listen El jardí d’Elisenda please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EauDfL7OAu4

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613 W 155th St
New York, NY
10032

The Hispanic Society Museum & Library is located on Broadway between 155th and 156th Streets in New York City | Buses: M4 or M5 to Broadway and 155th Street | Subway: Number 1 to Broadway and 157th Street

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