Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492–1898, is an exhibition on display at The Albuquerque Museum that explores themes from the private lives of the Spanish American privileged, focusing on their homes in the early colonial era through the nineteenth century.
The exhibition itself demonstrates the wealth and lineage of the early Spanish Americans, through the homes and the objects that adorned each room. This is not just limited to great works of art but also the luxurious textiles, sculptures and items that made up the faith, wealth and socio-racial status of the colonial Spanish Americans.
Behind Closed Doors is the first major exhibition that showcases and explores the private lives, social structures, and wealth of Spain’s colonial era elite. The exhibition is on a four-city tour with Albuquerque being the second stop. When the early conquistadors ventured into the Americas they brought an affluent heritage along with them. Much of this heritage can be seen throughout New Mexican culture but not in such luxurious and grand standings.
The collection primarily consists of works from the Brooklyn Museum and boasts some 160 paintings, sculptures, prints, textiles, and decorative objects. What feels like the center of the exhibition is a screen depicting the Siege of Belgrade on the front and a decorative hunting scene on the reverse, this is a piece from Mexico, circa 1697-1701. Outstretching from this piece are large satellites of paintings and objects such as a bed frame gilded in gold that catches the light with a beautiful glow. With a commanding presence a large masterpiece by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes entitled Don Tadeo Bravo de Rivero hangs in the main room. This piece captures Tadeo Bravo, who is adorned with the cross and jeweled badge of the distinguished Spanish Order of Santiago.
Many objects in this exhibition are placed, as they would have been viewed in these early Spanish American homes of the new world. Walking though each room gives the viewer a sense of going back in time, with the rich culture and extravagant icons of social standing the Spanish brought with them to the Americas.