The San Diego Museum of Art on Friday announced the acquisition of a major painting by one of the most important Spanish artists of the 17th century.
“We are thrilled to acquire this extraordinary painting, which is the first work by Juan de Valdés Leal to enter the collection. It builds on the existing strength of our holdings of Spanish art and raises the overall significance of the collection to a new level.” said Roxana Velásquez, executive director of the museum.
“The Visitation” joins San Diego’s acclaimed Spanish works including Juan Sánchez Cotán’s “Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber,” El Greco’s “Penitent Saint Peter,” and Goya’s portrait of “Vicente Maria de Vera de Aragon, Duque de la Roca.”
Painted with an energized, expressive brushstroke — the trademark of the artist’s best work — the 6-foot-tall painting depicts the emotional meeting of the Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. Valdés Leal, who lived 1622-1690, was known for dramatic, often macabre subjects.
The painting was acquired with funds from Lisa and Chuck Hellerich, Dolores Clark, Dale Burgett and George Gilman, the Gildred Family, Fran Golden, Paul Mosher, and Sally and John Thornton.
The museum in Balboa Park is the San Diego region’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum. Its permanent collection includes Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings, and 19th- and 20th-century American paintings and sculptures.
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