Rubens. The Triumph of the Eucharist is an exhibition opening in late March at the Museo del Prado. It focuses on both a major restoration project at the Museum and on the importance and outstanding quality of Rubens’s paintings. Curated by Alejandro Vergara, Chief Curator of Flemish and Northern Schools Painting at the Prado, the exhibition will analyse one of Rubens’s most important projects: the six panels on “The Triumph of the Eucharist” commissioned from the artist by Isabel Clara Eugenia in 1625 as models for tapestries for the convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid. The panels will be shown alongside the tapestries made from these designs, which now belong to Patrimonio Nacional.
In 2011 work started on a meticulous restoration of the six panels in the Prado’s collection, a project funded by Fundación Iberdrola in its capacity as Benefactor Member of the Museum’s Restoration Programme. Restorers at the Museum removed various 18th-century additions to each of the panels, which had prevented a correct visual appreciation of Rubens’s designs and had also damaged the original supports. The exhibition will offer a detailed analysis of this restoration process. In addition, the project involved the training of restorers from museums in Europe and the USA who are specialising in the restoration of wooden supports and who received support from the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, which funded the time that they spent in Madrid.