Southern Methodist University's Meadows Museum acquires six new paintings and drawings
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Southern Methodist University's Meadows Museum acquires six new paintings and drawings
Zacarías González Velázquez (Spanish, 1763-1834), Mary Magdalene and Head of a Moor, 1793. Black chalk, wash and white chalk highlights on grey tinted paper. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum Purchase with funds generously provided by a Challenge Grant by the Gill Family in honor of their daughter, Anju Gill, MM.2013.06.

DALLAS, TX.- 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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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