SMU’s Meadows Museum is preparing to unveil the world’s first major exhibition to showcase the art collection of King Charles IV of Spain. The museum will be the exclusive venue outside of Spain for the exhibition, which allows visitors to explore the refined and varied interests of one of the most important collectors both of his time and in the history of the Spanish monarchy.
Royal Splendor in the Enlightenment: Charles IV of Spain, Patron and Collector runs March 7-July 18, 2010, and features more than 80 works, most of which have never before traveled to the United States. The collection includes some of the finest examples of art styles of the day, from Rococo paintings to a Neoclassical dessert centerpiece of semi-precious stones, lapis lazuli, gilded bronze and enamel.
Other highlights include the ceremonial throne of Charles’ wife, Queen María Luisa, as well as an elaborate sedan chair (below left) in which she was carried by footmen. Also included are works by Francisco de Goya, the first court painter under Charles IV.
The exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum and Patrimonio Nacional, and funded by a gift from The Meadows Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Embassy of Spain, Washington, D.C. and the Consulate of Spain, Houston.
Two corollary exhibits, both funded by The Meadows Foundation, will showcase highlights from SMU’s own holdings. Goya and López: Court Painters for Charles IV features paintings, prints and drawings from the Meadows Museum’s permanent collection by two of Charles IV’s court painters – Francisco de Goya and Vicente López y Portaña. López was known for his mastery of drawing and for his portraiture, and the exhibit includes examples of both. The Goya pieces run the gamut of his artistic work, from an etching of Queen Margarita of Austria to a sobering glimpse of conditions for the mentally ill in Yard With Madmen. The exhibition is organized by the Meadows Museum.
Contours of Empire: The World of Charles IV captures the momentous events of Charles IV’s life (1748-1819) and reign (1788-1808). The exhibition features rare books, broadsides, pamphlets, maps, prints, newspapers and periodicals from SMU’s DeGolyer Library that illustrate a dynamic period in history – drawing not only from Spain but from her colonies, her allies and her enemies. The exhibition is organized by the Meadows Museum in collaboration with DeGolyer Library.
Top right: Francisco de Goya, Carlos IV, 1789, oil on canvas. Madrid, Royal Academy of History.
Top left: Sedan chair of Queen María Luisa of Parma, 1795, wood, gilded metal, bronze, velvet and silver. Madrid, Royal Palace, National Heritage.