Victorian-era paintings to summer at Madrid museum

John William Waterhouse, 'The crystal ball,' 1902. Copyright the Collection Perez Simon, Mexico.

John William Waterhouse, ‘The crystal ball,’ 1902. Copyright the Collection Perez Simon, Mexico.

MADRID – This summer, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is presenting “Alma-Tadema and Victorian Painting in the Pérez Simón Collection,” an exhibition that will include paintings by some of the leading names in 19th-century English painting.

The works of Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Frederic Leighton, Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Albert. J. Moore and John William Waterhouse express the values that these painters had partly inherited from the Pre-Raphaelites, presenting a strong contrast with the predominantly moralizing attitude of the day. Instead, they focused on classical antiquity, the cult of female beauty and a quest for visual harmony, all located in sumptuous settings and with a frequent use of medieval, Greek and Roman themes.

Commissioned by Véronique Gerard-Powell, honorary professor at the Université Paris-Sorbonne, the exhibition is composed of 50 works from the private Pérez Simón Collection, one of the most important holdings of Victorian painting in the world.

This exhibition has been shown in Paris and Rome before reaching Madrid, after which it will travel to London. The display of the works is organized into six thematic sections: The Eclecticism of an Era; Ideal Beauty, Classical Beauty; Alma-Tadema: Between Historical Reconstruction and Fantasy; The Face, Mirror of Beauty; From the Pre-Raphaelites to Symbolism; and Between Tradition and Modernity.

The exhibition will run June 25 through Oct. 5.