First major exhibition of Spanish artist Zurbarán in Belgium
Imagineear has created an audio guide for an exhibition of Francisco de Zurbarán’s work. The work of the artist nicknamed the ‘Spanish Caravaggio’ is finally being shown in Belgium, almost 400 years after he started producing work. Francisco de Zurbarán created striking paintings by boldly contrasting light and dark. He went on to play an important role in helping the Catholic Church communicate messages and stories to its congregation in an emotive way. Today, his art is still just as powerful as when it was first created. At the same time, it also provides a window to one of the most dynamic periods of Europe’s history.
Zurbarán was born in Western Spain in 1598. He was sent to Seville as an artist’s apprentice while still a teenager. His first commissions came from Seville, and from these his fame grew until he was eventually invited to settle there by the Elders to boost the city’s reputation. His work could be found across the city.
His popularity derived from a strong natural talent, but also because he provided the Catholic Church support through his art. Challenged by Protestantism, the Church had set about answering some of the questions the reformists had raised, and clarified ideas such as Original Sin and Salvation. Importantly, the significance of the Saints in worship was also reaffirmed, and the Church decided that their depiction in art should be more realistic. Zurbarán’s simple figurative painting style fittingly illustrated this new approach, while still being powerfully moving.
The exhibition shows several of Zurbarán’s most well-known pieces. The MediaPacker™ highlights the aspects of each painting to show the artist’s skill and approach, and provides stories and meaning behind what the artist has painted. One of the works for example is of the monk Brother Jéronimo Pérez, a leading intellectual in the Mercedarian Order. It can be admired as a striking painting alone, but the story of Jéronimo’s Order gives the visitor an insight into the character of the man depicted. The Order was military, ransoming Christian captives from the Moors. In addition to the usual monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Mercedarians also swore a ‘fourth vow’: a promise to offer their lives in exchange for prisoners in danger of losing their Christian faith through torture. It is insight like this which gives visitors an understanding not only of Zurbarán’s artistic genius, but of the lives, symbols and stories which make up his paintings.
Nathalie Beekman, Imagineear’s local Creative and Regional Manager in Belgium, says: “Working on such a prestigious project has been a real privilege. Zurbarán’s work is in galleries across the world. Bringing his most important pieces together under one roof means that visitors can get a really good feel for his talent and the subjects that inspired him. He was an important player at one of the formative periods of Europe’s history, the Counter-Reformation. It is only right that his work should once again be placed at the heart of Europe for a new audience to experience.”
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About Imagineear Ltd
Imagineear is a leading provider of multimedia content and technology solutions. We design and produce multilingual content, which we often integrate with existing archive materials, as well as live audio. We publish to smartphones, and to smart devices on-site, working with sports venues, cultural sites and the healthcare sector. In London and Amsterdam we have experienced content, hardware, software and data solution teams. Our goal is to help our clients deliver exceptional value and memorable experiences to their visitors, both on- and off-site. www.imagineear.com