Admission is always free Directions

Open today: 11:00 to 6:00

Works in Progress
Curating Sculpture: Velázquez and the Pieza Ochavada

April 16 at 12:10, 1:10
West Building Lecture Hall

Julia Vazquez, Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation Curatorial Intern, department of sculpture and decorative arts, National Gallery of Art

In the late 1640s, Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) was given a singular assignment on behalf of King Philip IV of Spain: to go to Rome to purchase copies of sculptures from antiquity for the purposes of enriching the royal art collection, then on display in the Alcázar palace in Madrid. Three of these were expressly intended to complete the series of sculptures exhibited in the Pieza Ochavada (“Octagonal Room”), reconstructed as a dedicated sculpture gallery in the preceding decade. Julia Vazquez reconsiders the factors determining the acquisition of these three sculptures and their intended exhibition alongside bronzes from the holdings of the royal art collection, ultimately exploring the ways that Velázquez’s acquisitions in Rome transformed the Pieza Ochavada and the very conception of sculpture to which it gave expression.

Visitor Information


Get updates on what’s happening at the Gallery, from exhibitions and lectures to family programs and more. Sign up.