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Exhibitions and Projects
Exhibition | 7 Sep. 2023 – 26 Nov. 2023

The Artist's Studio

From the Photographic Archives of the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute

The Artist’s Studio exhibition features ninety photographs (digital reproductions from the original photograph) that open the door to a variety of painters’ and sculptors’ working spaces in the period between the late 19th century and the mid-20th century. The photos have been selected from the Photographic Archives of the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute (Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España), more specifically from the Moreno Photographic Archive that boasts a comprehensive and important collection focused on this topic.
Photos of artists’ studios can be deemed authentic portraits of the artists whether they are present in the room or not. They are a special portrait genre in which the public or professional dimension meets the most intimate, private aspect of a man.

The first section of the exhibition shows the 19th century artistic background by means of selected representatives of history painting and landscape painting, such as Moreno Carbonero and Beruete, as well as the legacy of academic and classical art, epitomized by the photograph of the Great Central Hall of the Museum of Art Copies, where numerous artists would go to draw after the models of Graeco-Roman antiquity.
In the second section, a number of artists are grouped together whose creative zest was inspired by folklore, customs, costumes and traditions of different regions and inhabitants of Spain. They include López Mezquita, Sorolla, Chicharro, Pla, Romero de Torres, among others. The artists focused on Spanish national reality, which in some aspects coincided with the literary production of the Generation of ‘98 (Generación del 98); its literary members and the artists maintained a relationship through discussion groups and meetings.
A considerable number of artists featuring in the exhibition are portraitists whose clientele belonged to wealthy, bourgeois and noble families, high public officials, church and military dignitaries, and the royal family members. Some artists, such as Moreno Carbonero, López Mezquita and Caprotti, were fairly versatile painters. They made portraits and painted in parallel history and literary subject matter and “costumbrista” scenes.
Another section features photographs of artists in whose works a more modern, relaxed style and flexible relationship can be observed, remote from academic standards and traditional subject matter. Their works mark a shift towards other subjects and styles, more characteristic of the 20th century. With Maruja Mallo or Jorge Oteiza, they even enter the domain of avant-garde.

The exhibition concludes with a group of photographs taken during the Spanish Civil War and a decade after it, until about the mid-century. During the war, agitation-and-propaganda art was produced in which the artist is subordinate to the message.

Added to the exhibition of images of Spanish artists in their studios is a selection of photographs of artists who worked in the territory of Slovenia over the same time span. The photos are kept in a number of institutions, whereas the exhibited selection comes from the holdings of the National and University Library, the National Gallery of Slovenia, and private collections.

The exhibition has been prepared by the Sub-Directorate General of State Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Spain and realized by the National Gallery of Slovenia in cooperation with the Embassy of Spain in Slovenia as part of the cultural program of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

An exhibition project by
Ministry of Culture and Sport of Spain. Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage and Fine Arts
Embassy of Spain in Slovenia
National Gallery of Slovenia

Isabel Argerich Fernández, Óscar Muñoz Sánchez

Curator of the Slovenian part
Katra Meke

Katra Meke, National Gallery of Slovenia
María Pilar Ycaza Murn, Embassy of Spain in Slovenia

Exhibition set-up
Katra Meke, Barbara Jaki

Owners of exhibits
Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España, Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte
Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica
Narodna galerija
Private owners

The project was supported by

7 September – 26 November 2023
National Gallery of Slovenia
Narodni dom Gallery
Cankarjeva 20
1000 Ljubljana