Archives 2nd half of 2013
Through this exhibition, the Prado is paying tribute to its own history and to the origins of its building, originally designed as a Natural History museum.
On 19 November 1819, the Prado opened its doors to the public for the first time as the Museo Nacional de Pinturas y Esculturas (National Museum of Paintings and Sculptures). However, the Neo-
Natural Histories. A project by Miguel Ángel Blanco consists of twenty-
© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2013. All Rights Reserved
The first intervention is to be seen in the Ariadne Rotunda in the Museum, in which the preeminent work is the large-
Room 55B in the Prado is another space transformed into a natural history collection by Blanco through his introduction of the skeleton of a snake wound round itself, located next to Dürer's two panels of Adam and Eve. The skeleton is one of the most beautiful objects in the Museo de Ciencias Naturales' reptile collection. Through this juxtaposition, Dürer's two nude studies remind us even more forcefully of the subject of human proportions, which Blanco considers "a scientific endeavour." Here he reveals an aesthetic intent in his placement of the skeleton, while "the snake's flexibility resulting from its numerous vertebrae echoes the sinuosity of Dürer's figures."
Also on loan from the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales are three naturalised amphibians and reptiles, conserved in old jars and here juxtaposed with Goya's oil of The Witches' Sabbath. They are a common toad (Bufo bufo), a cobra (Naja melanoleuca) and a salamander (Salamandra salamandra gallaica). Next to the painting visitors can also see a bat's skeleton under a glass dome and the skull with horns of a hartebeest (Alcelaphus major), hung upside-
Exhibition 19 November 2013 -
Miguel Ángel Blanco, Satanic invocation (Room 67). Photo: Pedro Albornoz/Museo Nacional del Prado.