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Meadows Museum Acquires Six Spanish Paintings and Drawings

by Jerome Weeks 16 Sep 2013 1:50 PM

They’re all from the 17th and 18th centuries, and several are rarities: a painting from a lost altarpiece, a previously unknown pair of paintings on copper, an unpublished drawing.


SMU’s Meadows Museum has acquired six new works, equally divided between paintings and drawings. Most are first-timers for the museum — the first drawings or paintings to join the collection by Alonso Cano, Miguel Jacinto Melendez, Juan de Valdes Leal and Antonio Carnicero. Several are also rarities. The Melendez works, for example, are a previously unknown pair (or ‘pendant’) paintings on copper of Philip V (left) and his first wife. Philip was the founder of the Bourbon dynasty in Spain and this is the earliest-known portrait of him. Melendez eventually became Philip’s court painter.

The Cano painting of the Christ child (right), on the other hand, was part of a ‘lost’ altarpiece — the tabernacle door for the altar of Saint Theresa of Avila from 1636-’38. But the altar was dismantled in the 1800s, and only two other works from it are known to exist.

The acquisitions also join the Meadows’ “milestone expansion.” The Meadows celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015, and the museum’s many new acquisitions will be bannered with the name, “Launching the Next 50 Years: Continuing the Legacy of Collecting at the Meadows Museum.”

The full release follows:


Works by Spanish Baroque-Era Artists and More Will Be Part of “Launching the Next 50 Years: Continuing the Legacy of Collecting at the Meadows Museum”

DALLAS – (SMU) September 13, 2013–Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Museum announces the acquisition of six new paintings and drawings, including important works by influential Spanish artists Alonso Cano, Miguel Jacinto Meléndez and Juan de Valdés Leal.

“We are thrilled to add six extraordinary works by artists who are so central to the history of Spanish art,” said Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU. “We are particularly excited to acquire such exquisite paintings by Cano and Meléndez as the first examples of works by these two prominent artists to enter the Meadows’ collection.”

The six new works are Alonso Cano’s painting Christ Child (c. 1636-38); pendant paintings by Miguel Jacinto Meléndez, Portraits of Philip V, King of Spain, and his first wife, María Luisa Gabriela of Savoy (c. 1701-03); a sanguine and black chalk drawing by Juan de Valdés Leal, Apparition of Christ to Saint Ignatius on his Way to Rome (c. 1662); a chalk drawing by Zacarías González Velázquez, Mary Magdalene and Head of a Moor (1793); and a pencil drawing by Antonio Carnicero, María Luisa of Parma, Queen of Spain (1789).

“As one of the most comprehensive museums of Spanish art in the world, the Meadows is constantly growing. These works will greatly enhance and help complete the Museum’s distinguished permanent collection,” said Linda Custard, chair of the Meadows Museum Advisory Board.

ALONSO CANO, Christ Child (c. 1636-38)

The exquisite oil painting Christ Child (Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat) is the first work by the noted Sevillian artist Alonso Cano (1601-1667) to be acquired by the Meadows Museum, and the first time the painting has come to light in some 200 years. Dated to 1636-38, the work is thought to be the tabernacle door for the altarpiece of Saint Theresa of Ávila originally in the church of the former Carmelite monastery of San Alberto de Sicilia in Seville, Spain. The altarpiece was dismantled in the early 1800s, and the painting’s discovery provides new clues into the history of the altarpiece ensemble, of which only two other works are known to exist.

“This is a unique and special work by a very influential Spanish artist,” said Iraida Rodríguez-Negrón, the Meadows/Kress/Prado Curatorial Fellow who conducted extensive research on the history behind Cano’s Christ Child. “Most tabernacle doors are either lost or still located in churches, and the quality of this Cano painting is magnificent.”

Funding for the acquisition of Cano’s Christ Child was generously provided by Friends and Supporters of the Meadows Museum and the Meadows Museum Acquisition Fund.


MIGUEL JACINTO MELÉNDEZ, Portraits of Philip V, King of Spain, and his first wife, María Luisa Gabriela of Savoy (c. 1701-03)

Miguel Jacinto Meléndez’s previously unknown oil paintings on copper, Portraits of Philip V, King of Spain, and his first wife, María Luisa Gabriela of Savoy, date to between 1701 and 1703, before he officially began his long career as Philip V’s court painter. The works are now recognized as the earliest known likenesses of the monarchs to be painted by the artist, and they are also the first examples of work by Meléndez (1679 – 1734) to enter the Meadows Collection.

Although Meléndez painted the two portraits when he was only in his early 20s, the works show the technical mastery and exquisite delicacy that made him one of the greatest Spanish portraitists of the early 18th century. The paintings were previously owned by Lord Mowbray and Stourton and his wife, Jane de Yarburgh-Bateson, and displayed at Heslington Hall in Yorkshire, England and Marcus House in Angus, Scotland.

Funding for this acquisition was generously provided by Richard and Gwen Irwin and the McDermott Foundation.

JUAN DE VALDÉS LEAL, Apparition of Christ to Saint Ignatius on his Way to Rome (c. 1662)

This extremely rare, unpublished drawing by Sevillian artist Juan de Valdés Leal (1622-1690) is a preparatory work for his Jesuit painting series depicting scenes from the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Apparition of Christ to Saint Ignatius on his Way to Rome corresponds to the fourth in the series of at least fifteen canvases commissioned by the Jesuits of Seville for the Cloister of La Casa Profesa de la Compañía de Jesús, where the paintings were installed until the order’s expulsion in 1767.

The work is the first drawing by Juan de Valdés Leal to enter the collection of the Meadows Museum. It joins one Valdés Leal painting in the Museum, Joachim and the Angel (1655-60), as well as a print by the artist depicting the cathedral of Seville created for the canonization of Ferdinand III in 1671. There are only about 13 known drawings by Valdés Leal in the world, and until the Meadows acquired this work, only one drawing was in the United States.

Funding for this acquisition has been generously provided by Friends and Supporters of the Meadows Museum.

ZACARÍAS GONZÁLEZ VELÁZQUEZ, Mary Magdalene and Head of a Moor (1793)

The chalk drawing Mary Magdalene and Head of a Moor by the Madrid painter Zacarías González Velázquez (1763-1834) contains two intricately executed sketches for two distinct González Velázquez paintings commissioned for the Cathedral of Jaén: Calvary and Martyrdom of St. Peter Pascual. In the drawings, González Velázquez depicts only each figure’s face, with concentration given to capturing the emotions of each character. Only minor changes can be found between the drawn figures and their painted counterpart, suggesting that this was one of the artist’s final sketches before beginning work on the canvas.

Mary Magdalene and Head of a Moor joins only one other González Velázquez work in the Museum’s collection, the painting Portrait of a Lady with a Fan (c. 1805-10). The addition of this new drawing into the Meadows collection is part of a planned expansion in holdings of original works on paper.

Funds for this acquisition were generously provided by a Challenge Grant by the Gill Family in honor of their daughter, Anju Gill.

ANTONIO CARNICERO, María Luisa of Parma, Queen of Spain (1789)

María Luisa of Parma, Queen of Spain is the first work to enter the Meadows Museum by Madrid painter Antonio Carnicero (1748-1814), who would become court painter to King Charles IV in 1796. This drawing stems from the period well before Carnicero’s royal appointment, which indicates the sovereigns’ awareness of Carnicero’s exceptional talent.

As a propagandistic campaign to disperse the new sovereigns’ images throughout the Spanish kingdom, portraits of Charles IV and María Luisa were commissioned from Carnicero and other painters. In Carnicero’s drawing, a bust-length portrait of María Luisa is set within an oval, and an elaborate headdress of feathers and ribbons sits on the queen’s wig of ringlets. The work is a preparatory drawing for the painted portraits of the queen, but its exquisite, polished lines resemble an engraving more than a sketch made in anticipation of a work on canvas.

Funds for this acquisition were provided by a Challenge Grant by the Gill family in honor of their daughter, Anju Gill.

Earlier this year, the Meadows announced nine significant acquisitions, including five early 20th-century Spanish paintings from the Coleman Collection; a small oil painting by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1904 or 1905); a miniature portrait attributed to Alonso Sánchez Coello (c. 1580), a terracotta sculpture by Juan Alonso Villabrille y Ron (c. 1715); and The Stewart Album, an anthology of cartes de visite, drawings and correspondence compiled by renowned American collector and expatriate William Hood Stewart during the latter half of the 19th century.

Together, these recent additions mark a milestone expansion of the Museum’s premier permanent collection of Spanish art that will be featured under the banner “Launching the Next 50 Years: Continuing the Legacy of Collecting at the Meadows Museum.” The Museum officially celebrates its 50th anniversary in April 2015.

“This has become a landmark year of acquisitions for the Meadows,” said Roglán. “Not only is it remarkable to be adding such extraordinary works by so many artists during a single year, but the breadth and variety of the acquisitions is tremendous — the new paintings, sculpture and drawings range from the 16th century to the 20th century.”


About the Meadows Museum

The Meadows Museum is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to Southern Methodist University. The Museum opened to the public in 1965, marking the first step in fulfilling Meadows’ vision to create “a small Prado in Texas.”

Today, the Meadows is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art in the world. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries, and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters. Since 2010, the Museum has been engaged in a multidimensional partnership with the Prado, which has included the exchange of scholars, exhibitions, works of art, and other resources.