The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston provided a sneak peak today of the more than 100 works featured in the upcoming exhibition Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado.

The exclusive exhibition showcases the evolution of painting in Spain from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Houston will be the only U.S. city to host these stunning works from artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Giovanni Domenico and Titian.

The Museo Nacional del Prado opened in central Madrid in 1819. From the start, the museum housed some of the most important paintings from the royal collection, stretching over several centuries. Today, its collection includes 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and thousands more prints and drawings.

The Houston exhibit includes such famous pieces as Diego Velasquez's Mars, Francisco de Zurbarán's Lamb of God and Titian's Christ Carrying the Cross.

"This exhibition marks the first time that the Prado has lent so extensively to an American institution," says MFAH Director Gary Tinterow. "It is a wonderful privilege for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to have this exclusive U.S. showing, and I am especially looking forward to presenting these iconic paintings to our communities."

Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado
will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts from December 16, 2012, through March 31, 2013. The exhibit opens Dec. 16 with a Spanish Street Festival from 1-4 pm in front of the museum. The festival will include wine, food and Spanish music.