The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain
June 28 – November 29, 2009
West Building, Main Floor, Galleries 72 through 79

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: Armor on loan from the Spanish Royal Armory, Madrid, was shown with tapestries, paintings and works on paper showing the armor in use. Included were full sets of armor, helmets, shields, and equestrian armor dating from the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in the early 16th century through the 17th-century reign of King Philip IV of Spain. Paintings in the exhibition included works by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Diego Velazquez, and Alfonso Sanchez Coello. This was the first time that armor and portraits of individuals wearing the same armor were exhibited together. A large photomural at the exhibition entrance reproduced part of the 16th-century fresco in the Hall of Battles from the monastery and royal palace of the Escorial.

An audio tour narrated by Earl A. Powell III with commentary by Álvaro Soler del Campo and David Alan Brown was available. The curator gave an opening-day lecture, "Introduction to the Exhibition—The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain." Miguel Falomir, Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, presented the lecture Images for an Empire: Charles V and the Visual Arts on September 27. The family workshop "Royal Adventure" offered a program for children on four Saturdays in October. An educational resource table with books, replicas of armor, tapestry fragments, and artists' materials was located at the entrance of the exhibition at certain hours. On September 25, a concert by Spanish Brass was performed in honor of the exhibition. The Garden Cafè España offered a special cuisine of Spanish foods.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX), and the Patrimonio Nacional of Spain in association with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Ministry of Culture, with the assistance of the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. Álvaro Soler del Campo, director of the Spanish Royal Armory, Patrimonio Nacional, was curator. The coordinator in Washington was David Alan Brown, curator of Italian and Spanish paintings, National Gallery of Art.

Sponsor: The exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. In-kind promotional support was provided by Chef José Andrés of Jaleo and THINKfoodGROUP.

Attendance: 242,073

Catalog: The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain by Álvaro Soler del Campo. Madrid: Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, Patrimonio Nacional, Tf Editores, 2009.

Other Venues: Museo del Prado, Madrid, March 8–May 16, 2010

Image: Albrecht Dürer, The Triumphal Arch of Maximilian, 1515 (1799 edition), 42 woodcuts and 2 etchings on laid paper assembled to form one image, Gift of David P. Tunick and Elizabeth S. Tunick, in honor of the appointment of Andrew Robison as Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, 1991.200.1

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Audio and Video

The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain, The Iconography of Power
Video, Released: September 22, 2009, (6:29 minutes)
Garden Café España y las Tradiciones Culinarias Españolas
Audio, Released: September 1, 2009, (10:25 minutes)
Garden Café España and the Culinary Traditions of Spain
Audio, Released: August 18, 2009, (10:07 minutes)
The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain
Audio, Released: August 4, 2009, (13:24 minutes)
"The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain," Press Conference Highlights
Video, Released: July 7, 2009, (3:52 minutes)
Press Event: The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain
Audio, Released: June 23, 2009, (37:55 minutes)