SMU’s Meadows Museum has acquired an important series of 29 tempera-on-ivory miniatures by Francisca Ifigenia Meléndez (1770-1825) representing members of the court and family of King Charles IV of Spain.
The acquisition represents not only the Meadows’ first works in this genre, but its first paintings by a female artist. (The Museum’s collection includes a work attributed to female sculptor Luisa Roldán, the late 17th-century St. John the Baptist.)
Meléndez was a contemporary of Goya and, like her famous counterpart, an official court painter. But while Goya focused on canvas paintings, Meléndez specialized in miniatures. The examples acquired by the Meadows demonstrate her exceptional skill in this genre; she combined official portraiture and the rendering of each sitter’s individual features with assured and refined detail while providing insight into their personalities.
The works were purchased with funds donated by The Meadows Foundation and will go on permanent display this fall.