The contrast is shocking On the same route, what happens to a current look is the violent representation of a naked, sexualized girl, and the image of an adult lady who, at the time of her death, is visited by an angel in reward for her preserved chastity.
The allegory of the vice of pride embodied in a lady dressed in rich fabrics and striking colors coexists with visions of the intruding queen, incapable of ruling by her gender of the girl fallen from grace; the mother questioned; the submissive woman; the indecorous.
Easily recognizable as stereotypes of machismo, all these notions defined Spain between the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the official conceptualization of a corseted femininity.
It might seem like a controversial montage, but opening the debate is precisely what the Prado Museum aspires to with the exhibition Guests. Fragments on women, ideology and plastic arts in Spain (1833-1931) , a critical analysis of the topics that marked the life of half the population at that time and, with it, the idiosyncrasy and national values.
From the breadth of this idea, a specific perspective is covered: that of art promoted by the State, which rewarded some images and disapproved of others based on their moralizing character.
From those projections emanating from the instances of power, eminently male, the exhibition moves the focus towards art created by women, forced to do their work either by dodging or by imbibing themselves with those labels.
“This is a critical journey to the epicenter of nineteenth-century misogyny,” explains the curator, Carlos G. Navarro, the Prado’s curator of 19th-century painting, who calls into question her own journey through the approach of this exhibition.
“The museum is heir to this acquisitions policy”, Navarro acknowledges, “and now it is taking a leap towards a future in which the image of the female artist can be revised with greater precision”.