Beginning September 18, Jusepe de Riberas monumental portrait of Mary Magdalene from the collection of the Museo Nacional del Prado will be on view at the Meadows Museum
at Southern Methodist University, home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The exhibition, Ribera: Mary Magdalene in a New Context, which runs through January 15, 2012, marks the second year of the museums unprecedented international partnership with the Prado and will include other notable works by Ribera from distinguished international museums and private collections, as well as works by the artist and his followers from the Meadows permanent collection.
Ribera: Mary Magdalene in a New Context is part of the museums multifaceted three-year partnership with the Prado, a collaboration that includes the organization of groundbreaking focused exhibitions centered on pivotal masterpieces on loan from the Prado, scholarly texts that will advance the understanding of Spanish art, and an internship exchange between the two institutions. Following the 2010 presentation of El Grecos Pentecost, the Ribera exhibition examines a lesser-known facet of the artists career. Curated by Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, associate director of collections and research at the Prado, the exhibition will examine Riberas representation of Mary Magdalene and other saintly females as a departure from his traditional style. This initiative is accompanied by a bilingual publication published by the Meadows Museum in collaboration with the Museo Nacional del Prado, comprising essays by Dr. Finaldi, Dr. Craig Felton (Smith College), Dr. María Cruz de Carlos Varona (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) and Dr. Jessica A. Boon (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The exhibitions inauguration will feature a symposium on September 16, 2011, with lectures by Dr. Finaldi, Dr. Felton, and Dr. Helen Hills, professor of art history at York University, England.
This partnership, now in its second year, builds on museum founder Algur H. Meadows vision to establish a Prado on the Prairie, said Meadows Museum Director Mark Roglán. With this exhibition, visitors have the opportunity to see Riberas masterpiece in a new light. The painting is in dialogue with the incredible collection of Spanish art that Meadows helped build, and the universitys scholars will examine the work from a variety of perspectives, deepening understanding of its cultural, social, and religious contexts.
Though Ribera is known for his dark and startling works, often depicting scenes of horror, his representation of the Magdalene is tender, emphasizing the beauty and elegance of his subject. The Magdalene was a central devotional figure in seventeenth-century Italy and Spain, and was a frequent subject for paintings of the time. Ribera painted the Magdalene several times, consistently portraying her as a sympathetic and sensitive figure. Riberas Magdalene is accompanied by three additional loans: Assumption of the Magdalene (1636) from the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid; Saint Mary of Egypt in Ecstasy (c. 1640) from the Colección Pérez Simón in Mexico City; and Saint Mary of Egypt (1651) from the Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri in Naples, Italy.
This fall, the two museums will also initiate The Kress/Meadows/Prado Curatorial Fellowship, an annual exchange with one appointment made by each institution. This will be the first curatorial internship ever to be mounted by the Prado with a foreign institution. Sponsored jointly by the Meadows Museum, the Prado and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York, the fellowships will provide graduate students with the opportunity to gain professional and international experience, and to work closely with the curatorial staff at each institution. The Meadows Museum has selected Iraida Rodriguez-Negrón, a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, as the first recipient of this fellowship; she will spend approximately ten months at the Meadows, followed by six weeks at the Prado.
This Ribera exhibition and project have been organized by the Meadows Museum and the Museo Nacional del Prado, and are funded by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation.
Following the opening of the Ribera exhibition, beginning November 6, the Meadows will present Ten Works, Ten Years: Collection Highlights at the New Meadows Museum, a tenth-anniversary celebration of the museums new building that highlights significant gifts to the museums permanent collection. On view through January 15, 2012, the exhibition will feature exquisite works one acquired during each of the past ten years since the Meadows new building opened to the public. Notable acquisitions include the portraits Richard Worsam Meade by Vicente López y Portaña, King Charles II by Juan Carreño de Miranda and nineteenth-century landscapes by artists such as Joaquín Sorolla and Aureliano de Beruete. The new building was created to house the expanding permanent collection, and to provide more space for future exhibitions, and includes an outdoor plaza and sculpture garden featuring Jaume Plensas monumental sculpture Sho (2007).