Monographic exhibition of this exceptional painter of the second half of the 15th century. His work stands out for its extraordinary technique and for its iconographic originality.
Bartolomé de Cárdenas, alias El Bermejo (c. 1440 – c. 1501), is one of the most fascinating painters of the fifteenth century. He was born in Córdoba, though his status as a converted Jew may well have predisposed him to an itinerant life that included stints in Valencia, Daroca and Zaragoza at least and finally Barcelona. To get round the restrictions of the guild regulations of the period, he often teamed up with much less qualified local masters. Even so, the alias with which he proudly signed some of his most innovative works shows that he was a painter with a powerful personality, probably highly aware, and confident, of his skills.
Building on his mastery of the oil painting technique practised by Flemish artists, Bermejo developed a realistic language of his own with a particular emphasis on illusionistic effects, as well as spectacular ranges of colours. His technical prowess was coupled with an astonishing ability to interpret all kinds of themes and iconographies in new ways. His urge to carry on exploring new avenues, especially in landscape and portraiture, led him to produce some of his most complex and innovative works during the last stage of his career. All this drew the attention of a select clientele ranging from high-ranking clergymen and nobles to distinguished merchants as well as his own colleagues, who often imitated his compositions.
The exhibition, which brings together works from several museums around the world, is presented first at the Museo del Prado from October 9, 2018 to January 27, 2019.
The Museu Nacional already hosted an exhibition in 2003 with Bermejo's work on Hispano-Flemish Gothic Painting. Now we will show some capital works that could not be on that occasion, like the Pietat Desplà, recently restored (you can consult the catalog of the restoration process of this work in the museum's library).