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El Prado celebrates Velázquez

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El Prado celebrates Velázquez

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Madrid’s El Prado Museum has opened a new exhibition on Spain’s leading Golden Age painter Velázquez.

It covers the last decade of the Sevillian painter’s life, and brings together some of the artist’s major works for the first time.

From his masterpiece Las Meninas to Pope Innocent X’s portrait, Velázquez spent most of his career at the court of Philip IV. Besides dozens of portraits of the king himself, Velázquez also painted other members of the royal family. His portraits of the royal children are among his finest work.

“This exhibition features Velázquez’ workshop. We can see a whole series of paintings produced in his latter years, artworks that were intended primarily for the court’s diplomatic functions,” says the museum’s director Miguel Zugaza.

The exhibition also features works by Velázquez’ successors Martínez del Mazo and Juan Carreño, who drew inspiration from their predecessor’s work, moving royal iconography towards a more complex, Baroque style.

Velázquez and the family of Philip IV runs until February 2014.

Meanwhile, “When Britain Went Pop!” is the largest exhibition of British Pop Art ever held in the UK.

One of its goals is to show the influence artists such as David Hockney and Richard Hamilton had on the movement. Many of the works on show have not been seen in public since the 1960s.

The Pop Art movement emerged in Britain in the mid-1950s. The imagery often included advertising, comic books and mundane objects, in a clear break from fine art tradition. But the British movement was never as good as the American one at getting global attention:

“With British Pop Art, it hasn’t been quite as internationalised and I think that’s one of the steps that we are trying to do here, really make an international voice for artists like Peter Blake, Gerald Laing, and in many cases, artists that aren’t as known such as Derek Boshier or Peter Phillips. I think this is a great platform to be able to try and internationalise those names,” says Lock Anderson Kresler of Christie’s.

The exhibition spans British Pop Art from its very early days to its full maturity in the late 1960s. It looks not only at ground-breaking artists but also at the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Swinging 60s.

“When Britain went Pop!” runs at Christie’s new Mayfair gallery in London until the 24th of November.

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