The conception of the museum was possible after exhaustive rehabilitation work on the building owned by the Count of Lumiares. Located between the Postiguet wall and the Santa María staircase, in the historic center of the city, it was built on top of the buildings that were demolished during the War of Succession. Its magnificent façade, with an orderly composition and austere language, was built with ashlar masonry from the nearby Sierra de San Julián. Inside, the arcades on the ground floor modulate the openness of a space destined to the deposit of goods that were once traded through the port. To the Gravina Palace, the adjoining building, of similar style, was annexed, transforming both into a single space, both outside and inside. The ground floor and the basement of a more modern building were also added, thinking about the location of temporary exhibitions, with the possibility of entry through the parallel street or through the main entrance of the Museum.
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY AT THE MUBAG
From the training to the fullness of an artist, it brings together the most outstanding of the Alicante painting of the 19th century. The exhibition wants to publicize the career and achievements of the main artists of the province, present in the collection of the Diputación and who contributed to making the so-called Valencian school famous, today a benchmark in the History of Spanish Art. The sample is enriched with pieces that are exhibited for the first time in Alicante. The end result is unique and the result of collaboration with works from the Alicante City Council and the collections of such important museums as the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Museo Sorolla in Madrid and the Museo de Bellas Artes in Valencia. The sample is made up of more than sixty works, arranged chronologically, that narrate the stages through which a painter of the time passed: first years of Formation, participation in Exhibitions and awards obtained in them; Artistic plenitude and international recognition.
The collection of the Diputación de Alicante has in its funds a wide representation of the artists who stood out from the second half of the 19th century. In 1863, the Provincial Council decided to support Alicante’s artistic creation by granting pensions, so that artists could further their studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid and, later, in the great centers of world art, Rome and Paris. This is how the great nucleus of 19th century painting that houses the current collection was formed, with the exam exercises to obtain the scholarship and the mandatory paintings and sculptures that the artists sent from abroad. Proof of them are the works of Fernando Cabrera, Pedro Serrano Bossio or Francisco Bushell, among others. The National Picture Gallery has fourteen works, including those awarded at the National Fine Arts Exhibitions, in which artists from the province such as Vicente Poveda, Ricardo Navarrete y Fos or Heliodoro Guillén were regular participants, with paintings of history and realism. Social. The subject of portraiture and costumbrismo are also present in the exhibition with magnificent examples of the production of Emilio Sala, Antonio Gisbert and Joaquin Agrasot in the prime of their careers. The incorporation of the figure of Joaquín Sorolla puts an end to a stage of study painting, marked by academicism, giving way to subjects painted in the open air where the important thing is no longer the rigor in the representation, but the transmission of others concepts such as light and color. These values of Sorolla’s painting will be the benchmark for Alicante artists at the beginning of the 20th century, as in the case of his disciple Emilio Varela, whose work can be seen at MUBAG.