Art is divine

Balenciaga and the Spanish painting





From June 18, 2019 to September 22, 2019




Alessandra Cenna

Francisco de Zurbaan

Fray Franciso Zùmel hacia 1628

Oleo sobre lienzo 193 x122 cm

Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid

Vestido de novia, 1960

Satén y visón

(Wedding dress satin and mink)

Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa

© Jon Cazenave

This summer in Madrid, the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum celebrates Cristòbal Balenciaga -1895- 1972- and Spanish painting from the 16th to the 20th century.


 A hundred or so clothes from three Spanish museums, Museo de Getaria, birthplace of the Basque designer, Museo del Traje in Madrid and Museo del Disseny in Barcelona, as well as others borrowed from private collections are compared with some fifty paintings by Spanish painting of these last five centuries. The works of El Greco, Velasquez, Murillo, Goya, Ignacio Zuloaga and Francisco de Zurbaràn thus interact with the models born of their inspiration. Their influence is clearly visible in all of Balenciaga’s work. The pure lines of the religious clothes set the tone for the Virgin dresses of the brides while the vests of matadors highlight eternal Carmen.


 Forms, volumes, chromatic echoes fascinated this son of a fisherman and a seamstress who dressed the Basque aristocracy.

 From his childhood, Balenciaga bathes in this refined and international elegance.


Anunciación, hacia 1576

(The Annunciation)

óleo sobre lienzo 117 X 98 cm

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Vestido de noche, 1968

Organza de seda

(Evening gown, silk organza)

Coleccion de Dominique Sirop, Paris

© Jon Cazenave


Isabel de Borbón, esposa de Felipe IV, harcia 1620

( Isabel de Borbón, Wife of Philip IV)

Oleo sobre lienzo 201 X 115 cm

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

© Archivo Fotogràfico Museo Nacional del Prado

Vestido de novia, 1957

Chantung de seda bordado con hilos de plata

(Wedding dress silk shantung embroidered with silver thread)

Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria

© Mueseo Cristóbal Balenciaga 

© Jon Cazenave

From his first creations, these sophisticated Spanish ornaments with their corsets, their silk stockings, their doublets and collars inspired him in correspondence with the portraits of the Iberian painting.


 With his style, he quickly conquered Spain and Paris where he opened his studio, Avenue George V, giving the example to Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, Ungaro and Paco Rabanne.

 These models quickly become icons as his trapeze silhouette in the ‘50s-’60s, front arched and blurred volume in the back, his style provokes the international craze and his success.


 El Greco with his black velvet suits was the prelude to the creation of the inevitable little black dress. Balenciaga has drawn from the embroidery and the flowery prints of the great masters, the richness of the finery of which they adorn the dresses and the fabulous accessories of his graceful silhouettes. Francisco de Zurbaran gives him the lines of his wedding dresses as he borrows Goya tulles and lace. His flamboyant evening dresses are born with the attention of the flamenco dancers immortalized by Ignacio Zulaoga.

For Balenciaga, the artist must be complete. Architect, sculptor, painter, philosopher and musician, he devoted his life to sublimate the female body.


Spain pays him a vibrant tribute to the side of his famous artists.


The exhibition marries art and culture with joy; it offers an obvious reading of the creative relationship 

that unites fashion and painting.




Cristobal Balenciaga and the Spanish Painting.

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza  

June 18 to September 22,2019

Vestido de noche, 1952


(Evening gown, taffeta)

Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria

© Mueseo Cristóbal Balenciaga

© Jon Cazenave

Ignacio Zuloaga

Retrato de Maria del Rosario de Silva

y Gurtubay, duquesa de Alba, 1921

(Portrait of Maria del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay, Duchess of Alba)

Oleo sobre lienzo, 204 X178 cm

Fundación de Alba, Palacio de Liria, Madrid

Chaqueta de noche, 1946

Terciopelo de seda, pasmaneria y pedreria de azabache

(Evening jacket, silk velevet and passementerie and jet beads)

Colección de Hamish Bowles

Hamish Bowles Collection

© Jon Cazenave

Ramon Casas Carbo, Julia, 1915

Oleo sobre lienzo, 85 X 67 cm

©  Colleción Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza  

en préstamo gratuito Carmén

Thyssen Màlaga