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Culture Nivel B2


London / Face to face, majestic and together for the first time in three centuries: this is how the National Gallery in the United Kingdom presents the two well-known self-portraits by Bartolomé Murillo to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of the Spanish master.

Both works are the most outstanding of a set of paintings by the artist that is holding this exhibition which can be visited until May 21.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between the British National Gallery, one of the most important art galleries in the world, and the Frick Collection in New York.

Murillo (1617-1682), was one of the most representative painters in the Golden Age of Spanish art and although he is known mainly for his religious paintings and his representation of ordinary life in seventeenth century Seville, he was also a ” ingenious portraitist, “explained Letizia Treves, organizer of the exhibition in London.

There are only two known self-portraits of the Sevillian painter, the first one dated when he was about 30 years old and belongs to the Frick gallery, and the second completed some twenty years later, which is part of the permanent exhibition of the National Gallery.

Side by side, the two portraits “show overtime”, both by the change of the painter’s features as he ages and by the advancement of the techniques employed in the creative process, added Treves.

In the first painting, Murillo is young, with the look of “a gentleman, but not that of a painter”, framed by a stone tablet with edges bitten by time, probably inspired by the Roman ruins that abounded in Seville in the seventeenth century.

As Treves explained, the angle and colours with which Murillo represented himself suggest a sense of “realism and vitality”, while the contrast with the rock shows “a way to evoke his own image as that of a painter, whose fame is able to survive over the years. “

The second self-portrait

The second portrait represents the artist some twenty years later, when he was undoubtedly considered the best painter in Seville and, perhaps for this reason, Murillo decides to show himself as the “great painter he is”, surrounded by his tools.

However, the most representative element of this painting, added Treves, is that Murillo is framed by a stone oval from which his right hand stands, leaning lightly against the frame as if it were a window.

“I think he is trying to demonstrate his ability as a painter, his ability to create an illusion and also to break with it, perhaps boasting but in a very subtle and refined way,” said the specialist.

This way of representing a subject is “something completely innovative, of an unparalleled inventiveness, which Murillo could afford because he was drawing himself,” Treves said.

Along with these portraits, the exhibition includes another ten works, among which are six more works by the Sevillian painter and other posthumous reproductions, such as engravings that were used to illustrate the artist’s biographies.

“We found it very important to show these works in the context of other portraits also characteristic of Murillo, which allows us to observe the inventiveness that characterizes them”, commented the organizer of the exhibition.

For this reason, the portraits of Juan Arias de Saavedra, Nicolás Omazur and Diego Ortiz de Zúñiga are exhibited, which has only been attributed to Murillo since last October.

In addition, the exhibition includes the famous “Laughing child looking out the window” and “Women in the window”, two paintings -not portraits- that reflect the artist’s intention to create an illusion of reality through art in anyone who I observed them.

This technique applied to self-portraits was not, for Murillo, “just a matter of tricking or creating false illusions, but of seeking, in a very conscious way, the best way to represent oneself as an individual,” Treves concluded. (February 28, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

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Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read and answer the questions)

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Question 1
La noticia trata…
de una exposición sobre los mejores pintores españoles de la historia.
de un par de cuadros que se exhiben juntos por primera vez en Londres.
del descubrimiento de un cuadro de Murillo.
Question 2
Según el texto…
han pasado 3 siglos desde la última vez que se exhibieron juntos esos autorretratos de Murillo.
se exhiben más de un par de autorretratos de Murillo en esa exposición.
es la primera vez en la historia que dos autorretratos de Murillo se exhiben juntos.
Question 3
¿Quién pintó esos autorretratos?
Un pintor que era amigo de Murillo.
No se sabe.
El propio Murillo.
Question 4
En la noticia se dice que…
se ha organizado esa exposición para conmemorar una efeméride.
se ha organizado esa exposición para conmemorar el fallecimiento del pintor.
el año que viene se cumplirán 400 años del nacimiento de Murillo.
Question 5
Murillo es un pintor muy conocido…
que vivió en el siglo dieciséis.
que vivió en el siglo diecisiete.
que vivió en el siglo dieciocho
Question 6
Los dos autorretratos fueron pintados casi al mismo tiempo.
Así es.
En absoluto.
Nadie lo sabe.
Question 7
En el primer autorretrato Murillo…
destaca deliberadamente su profesión de pintor.
se representa más como un caballero que como un pintor.
tiene un aspecto poco juvenil.
Question 8
Según el texto, ambos autorretratos…
fueron realizados antes de que Murillo envejeciera.
muestran cómo ha ido cambiado el propio pintor con el tiempo.
no muestran cómo ha envejecido el propio Murillo con el paso del tiempo.
Question 9
En esta exposición son expuestas otras obras de Murillo.
No es verdad.
¡Imposible saberlo!
Claro que sí.
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