17th Century Spanish Painting: The Golden Age
11 October 2014 – 1 February 2015
The centrepiece of this display of Spanish masters is a newly conserved Francisco Pacheco painting, which has not been seen publicly for over half a century.
The Last Communion of Saint Peter Nolasco is one of six pieces created by Pacheco for the Merced Calzada Convent in Seville. It is a historically important example of Spanish Baroque painting, illustrating the theories and techniques the artist set out in his landmark treaty, Arte de la Pintura. Chemical analysis proves that the ground colour came from silt from the Guadaquivir River which flows through Seville.
It was donated to The Bowes Museum in 1964, but the condition of the piece meant it remained in storage until the 1990s when the conservation team decided they would try to restore it. The painting was first lined and cleaned at the National Gallery before reconstruction work of the badly worn areas began back at The Bowes.
It is shown here alongside key works by Francisco de Zurbarán, Juan van der Hamen y León and Juan de Valdes Leal, in order to investigate Pacheco's role as teacher, writer and master of the second generation of painters in Seville.