March 2013 Friday & Saturday Afternoon Lectures: Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado

MFAH Prado audio-photo essay, December 2012, Sánchez Coello, The Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia
Alonso Sánchez Coello, ​The Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566–1633) and Magdalena Ruiz​, c. 1585–88, oil on canvas, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Photo courtesy of © Photographic Archive, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

This series of lecture, presented in conjunction with Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado, are held Fridays at 1:30 p.m. and repeated on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Brown Auditorium Theater.

A reception to meet the speaker follows each lecture. 

March 1-2: A Woman Clothed with the Sun: The Immaculate Conception in the Art of Spain
According to Catholic doctrine, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was from the moment of her conception free from original sin. Devotion to the Virgin Immaculate was strongest in Spain, where artists such as Murillo, Velázquez, and Zurbarán created the most enduring images of this woman born without stain. But how does an artist convey this special quality? How does an artist paint what can't be seen? James Clifton explores the development of the definitive iconography representing the Virgin Immaculate and why it was so closely associated with Spain and the Americas.

March 8-9: Francisco Goya: The First Modern Artist
The genius of Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) was acknowledged in his own lifetime. During his lengthy career as painter to the Spanish court, he carried out the most well-known paintings and prints of the era. But his fortunes suffered, as Spain's did, after the Napoleonic occupation of Spain (1807–14) and his subsequent exile in France. However, with the opening of the Prado in 1819 and the subsequent "discovery" of Goya by the French Romantics in the 19th century, he would attain the international recognition that he has preserved ever since. He was to become an even more iconic figure in Spain in the wake of the Spanish-American War of 1898, when the country lost the remnants of its colonial empire, and found in Goya a symbol of its former greatness. In this talk, Deborah Roldán delves into Goya's extraordinary impact in France and Spain in the century following his death.

March 15-16: The Three Faiths of Abraham
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism trace their lineage to Abraham. All three are monotheistic, believing in a creator God who is the source of moral law, and the sacred texts of all three share many of the same stories, people, places, and events. Although their theological tenets and rituals may at first appear to have little in common, Jill Carroll outlines the commonalities and distinctions that unite and separate the three faiths of Abraham, and discusses how those distinctions are reflected in the exhibitions Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado (Spanish Catholic art); Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait; and Lost Treasure of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice.

March 22-23: Dressed for Success: Spanish Royal Fashions
Bejeweled, encrusted with pearls and encased in corsets and crinolines, the ladies of the Spanish court were literally personifications of Spain's riches and her dominance over vast parts of the globe. Since the vicissitudes of power are reflected even in something as ephemeral as fashion, Helga K. Aurisch talks about how the magnificent portraits in the exhibition Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado can serve as guides to understanding Spain's changing role over the centuries.

Event Details


3.23.13 | 4:00 pm
3.22.13 | 1:30 pm
3.16.13 | 4:00 pm
+ see all dates and times
3.15.13 | 1:30 pm
3.9.13 | 4:00 pm
3.8.13 | 1:30 pm
3.2.13 | 4:00 pm
3.1.13 | 1:30 pm


1001 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005


Ticket Info

$5 MFAH members; non-members $8 plus museum admission.