Meadows Museum

Tune In: SMU Founders’ Day Weekend 2017 in photos

From Perunapalooza to Pony Preview, from Meadows Museum Family Day to the Luck of the Loydians Residential Commons celebration, and from the Red-Blue Scrimmage to Mustang Fan Fair, SMU Founders’ Day Weekend was packed with activities for the entire community. Take a look back with these photos by Kim Leeson and Guy Rogers III.

SMU celebrates 2017 Founders’ Day Weekend April 6-9

Athletics Football Spring GameSMU celebrates 2017 Founders’ Day Weekend April 6-9 with a full slate of public activities for alumni, students, friends and the entire community.

All are invited to join the annual celebration of the University’s founding in 1915 at these events:

  • Meadows Museum Family Day, with free arts and craft activities for adults and children featuring the drawings of Spanish artist Jusepe de Ribera
  • The free Mustang Spring Football Game, featuring an SMU intra-squad scrimmage and players and coaches on hand for photos and autographs on the field after the game
  • Mustang Fan Fair, with inflatables, food trucks, photos with Peruna, and the opportunity to play new, award-winning games from the SMU Guildhall with their student designers
  • Performances of the Meadows School of the Arts’ Spring Dance Concert, featuring the Paul Taylor masterpiece Mercuric Tidings

In addition, the George W. Bush Presidential Center will offer guided bluebonnet tours of the Native Texas Park on the grounds of the center.

> Find detailed information on all Founders’ Day Weekend activities at smu.edu/FoundersDay

 

SMU’s Meadows Museum acquires late medieval altarpiece, now one of three works in collection dating before 1450

'Saints Benedict and Onuphrius' by Pere Vall

In Pere Vall’s Saints Benedict and Onuphrius (c. 1410), the two saints stand before what appears to be a high stone settle decorated with arabesque vines and foliate ornament. On the left, Saint Benedict wears the black habit of his order and holds the book of his teachings and a crozier.

The Meadows Museum has acquired a late medieval altarpiece panel attributed to Spanish painter Pere Vall, active in Cataluña c. 1400–c. 1422. The work is now one of only three in the collection dating before 1450.

The tempera on wood panel painting, dated c. 1410, features the Saints Benedict and Onuphrius. It is the first work by this artist to enter the Museum’s collection, as well as the first work acquired under the new phase of the Meadows Acquisition Challenge Fund, with matching funds provided by Richard and Luba Barrett. Richard is a member of the Meadows Museum Advisory Council.

Pere Vall, also referred to as the Master of the Cardona Pentecost, is among the most distinctive and prolific of documented artists active in the environs of Barcelona during the first quarter of the 15th century. A well-documented retable painter, he likely trained in the studio of Pere Serra in Barcelona but was primarily active in the town of Cardona (Cataluña) during the first decades of the 15th century. He is represented in the collections of a handful of prominent museums, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Museu Episcopal de Vic, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Others of his altarpieces, or parts thereof, remain in situ in Cardona.

Only a few objects in the Museum’s collection, such as the Catalan Cabinet (1375–1400), represent the roughly six centuries of the Middle Ages. The new panel is a significant acquisition representing the Hispanic artistic tradition of the later medieval period, which was characterized and dominated by large, painted retables serving as instructional backdrops for the theater of the mass. With Saints Benedict and Onuphrius in the Meadows collection, the Museum is better poised to offer students and visitors a more complete view of the religious practice that so shaped the lives of medieval Spaniards.

“By activating the challenge fund recently put in place, we hope to encourage other donors to follow suit in the future,“ said the Barretts. “We are delighted to be able to support the Meadows Museum and to recognize the excellent work being done by Director Dr. Mark Roglán and his outstanding team.”

Dr. Roglán added, “We are thankful to the Barretts for their continued support of acquisitions, loans and other aspects of museum operations; this acquisition strengthens our holdings of medieval Spanish art and improves our ability to illustrate its development to students, scholars and the public.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Meadows Museum curator solves mystery of the Spanish masterworks

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK7T2oJg5UM[/youtube]SMU’s Meadows Museum has concluded a lengthy investigation into the true identity and postwar provenance of two of the most famous paintings in its collection – masterworks that had been seized by the Nazis during World War II.

With the help of a series of serendipitous discoveries and six years of relentless detective work by curator Nicole Atzbach, the Museum now has definitive evidence to prove that Saint Justa and Saint Rufina by Spanish master Bartolomé Esteban Murillo had in fact been lawfully restituted to the Rothschild family following the war, long before their 1972 sale to the Museum.
(more…)

Meadows Museum acquires new Spanish masterwork: a remarkable child portrait by Francisco Bayeu

'Maria Teresa del Castillo' by Francisco BayeuA dog, a donut and a child in blue are hallmarks of the latest masterwork to join the collections of SMU’s Meadows Museum.

The Museum has acquired the painting María Teresa del Castillo (1767-70), a portrait of a child by Francisco Bayeu y Subías (1734-1795), one of the most important and widely admired Spanish painters of the period.

Part of the aristocratic Villagonzalo collection since at least the 19th century and rarely seen on public display, the painting is in extraordinary condition – with an unlined canvas on its original stretcher – and required little conservation.

The portrait is of such high quality that for many years it was attributed to Bayeu’s mentor, court painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779); a recent examination of the piece led to both the identification of the girl depicted and reattribution of the painting to Bayeu.

The painting is an important addition to the Meadows Museum’s collection, which has very few such examples of child portraiture. Its acquisition is supported by a gift from Barbara McKenzie, a longtime docent and member of the Meadows Museum Advisory Council, and her husband, Mike.

“Stunningly beautiful in its painterly details, and delightful in depicting the subject with a pastry and a pet, this is an exceptional portrait by this court painter,” said Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. “The painting is also an important addition to our collection of 18th-century works, greatly complementing our Goya holdings, as well as other artists of the Ancien Régime. We are grateful to Barbara and Mike McKenzie for their generosity; their support ensures that we remain one of the greatest collections of Spanish art in the world.”

“The details in this painting are exquisite, reflecting Bayeu’s tremendous skill,” said Nicole Atzbach, curator at the Meadows Museum. “For example, María Teresa del Castillo wears a robe à la française, characterized by a funnel-shaped or conical bodice that then becomes voluminous rectangular skirts conceived in a deep blue silk…. [The] dress also features a square-cut neckline which, when worn by adult women, would provide ample space to display strands of pearls or a velvet bow.

“In this case, Bayeu has jettisoned such adult adornments and instead outfitted his young subject with more age-appropriate trappings, including a glazed rosquilla (a donut-shaped pastry) in her left hand and a small dog tucked securely under her right arm. The combination of the sophisticated fashion and the child-friendly touches make this painting both beautiful and charming.”

Francisco Bayeu was one of the most gifted portrait artists of the period, known in particular for his accurate depictions of his subjects. However, because María Teresa del Castillo was not on public view for more than eight decades, only recently could additional research be conducted on its attribution.

The title of painting has also undergone a change in light of its reattribution. When on view in the 1925 exhibition at the Sociedad Española de Amigos del Arte in Madrid, and in 1929 at the Museo Nacional del Prado, the portrait was known simply as The Girl with the Rosquilla. As part of his study of the painting, Dr. Ansón Navarro discovered an inscription on the canvas’ stretcher, which also dates to the second half of the 18th century. The inscription reads “Exma. Sra Da MaTeresa del Castillo,” or “Excelentísima Señora Doña María Teresa del Castillo.” Her name has now become the title of the work.

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU celebrates Founders’ Day Weekend 2016 April 15-16

Peruna mascot at SMU Founders Day 2015SMU Founders’ Day Weekend will kick-start the University’s second century April 15-16, 2016 with a celebration of renovated library facilities, a new book on SMU history, the dedication of a new campus walkway, and a Mustang-sized finale to the Second Century Campaign.

Saturday’s community activities will include faculty talks at Inside SMU, opportunities to explore and create at the Meadows Museum, and an afternoon of fandom and Mustang football.

> Read the full story from SMU News

“We look forward to celebrating our beginnings at Founders Day each year, but in 2016 we also celebrate a very happy ending – the April 15 finale of the $1.15 billion fundraising campaign that has changed the trajectory of SMU,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “All of the opportunities the campaign has opened for SMU ultimately become community assets that we want to share.  We hope our North Texas neighbors will come explore the Hilltop and enjoy Community Day with us on April 16.”

FRIDAY, APRIL 15

• SMU will celebrate the renovation of Fondren Library, including the Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room, at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

• A 1 p.m. open house will honor the release of the new book from SMU historian Darwin Payne ’68One Hundred Years on the Hilltop: The Centennial History of Southern Methodist University.  Signed copies are available for order online and will be shipped to purchasers after Founders’ Day Weekend.

• At 6 p.m., the University will celebrate the campaign finale on the South Plaza of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center with a salute to the campaign’s major and leadership donors, the dedication of the Crain Family Centennial Promenade and the unveiling of a campaign major donor monument, including plaques listing major donors to the Second Century Campaign. During the reception that follows, guests can stroll the promenade and view their engraved pavers.

Read some of the stories behind the Crain Family Centennial Promenade bricks

• The day ends with Sing Song, the annual musical theater performance competition for SMU students hosted by SMU Program Council.  Scheduled for 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, the performances are centered on this year’s theme of “Twisted Tales.”  Tickets are available online.

> Celebrate Peruna’s Birthday during Founders’ Day Weekend 2016, Friday, April 15

SATURDAY, APRIL 16 – SMU COMMUNITY DAY

All SMU Community day activities are open to the public.

Guitarist in Meadows Museum, SMU Founders' Day 2015Inside SMU, scheduled for 8:30 a.m.-noon in Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall, is a full morning of topical discussions delivered by SMU faculty and students. The plenary session at 9 a.m. features Darwin Payne ’68, SMU historian and professor emeritus of communications, sharing “Ten Stories You Should Know about SMU.”

Community Day at the Meadows Museum is from 10-1 p.m. and will enable visitors to explore its Salvador Dali exhibit, as well as participate in special activities for children.

SMU Athletics hosts afternoon events at Gerald J. Ford Stadium: Mustang Fan Fair begins at noon with inflatables and food trucks, followed by the SMU Spring Football Game at 1 p.m.

See the full schedule and register for activities

— Kimberly Cobb

Calendar Highlights: Mustang Must-do’s for Feb. 26, 2016

Changing the Video Game Industry: Founder of Unity Technologies, David Helgason, will discuss how Unity Technologies and the Unity Development Platform transformed the video game industry. This presentation, on Friday, Feb. 26 at 3:30 p.m. in the Vester Hughes Auditorium (Caruth Hall), is part of the Game Changers Speaker Series, presented by SMU Guildhall. The series offers insights from today’s top talent in the video game industry as an extension of SMU Guildhall’s mission to educate and inspire the next generation of video game developers.

RSVP for David Helgason here

TEDxSMU Live Auditions: The first of three rounds of live TEDxSMU auditions, focusing on global issues, humanities and education, will be held Monday, Feb. 29 at the Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Avenue. Doors open at 6 p.m. and talks start promptly at 7 p.m. Audience members and a panel of celebrity judges will vote for their favorite during the auditions, and the winner will be announced at the end of the evening. Finalists include Lauren Bagwell, Candice Bledsoe, Sally Le, Kevin Lee, Diana Miller, Jonathan Swiatocha, Linda Swindling, and Rashmi Varma. Tickets are $23 and can be purchased here.

The audition application remains a two-step process: online application and live audition. Live Audition 2 is March 31 and is themed “Science, Technology and Health.” Submissions will close March 2 at 11:59 p.m. and finalists will be announced March 7. Live Audition 3 is May 26 and is themed “Arts, Entertainment, and Design.” Submissions will close April 17 at 11:59 p.m. and finalists will be announced March 25.

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.55.49 PM Blue Like Me: Siona Benjamin, a painter originally from Bombay now living in the U.S., will discuss her work and how it reflects her background of being raised as a Jew in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. Her paintings combine the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by Indian miniature painting and Judeo-Spanish icons. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 1 in Dedman Life Sciences Building, Room 110 at 5:30 p.m.

> Click here for more information

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y VELÁZQUEZ (1599–1660), Female Figure (Sibyl with Tabula Rasa) (Sibila con tábula rasa), c. 1648Art in Focus: The second offering in the Meadows Museum’s new series of short, public Art in Focus gallery talks centers on Female Figure (Sibyl with Tabula Rasa) by Diego Velazquez, c. 1648. From February through May 2016, on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:15 p.m., the Museum is offering a 15-minute gallery talk on a single work of art. The series focuses on works in the permanent collection, and the talks are delivered by museum staff. The goal of this series is to encourage a range of approaches to exploring the visual arts, providing a unique perspective and inviting visitors to look more closely at individual objects on display in the museum. Admission is free for SMU students, faculty and staff.

Women’s Symposium: Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, will be the keynote speaker at SMU’s 51st annual Women’s Symposium at a noon luncheon Wednesday, March 2, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center ballroom. Hosted by the Women and LGBT Center at SMU, the symposium is the longest continuously running program of its nature in the country. The primary goals of the program are to encourage women to assume roles of social and political leadership within their communities, to provide a forum in which women and men may examine the societal impact of the changing roles of women, and to provide an opportunity for female and male students to develop leadership skills within a multigenerational, multiethnic model.

> Learn more about the Women’s Symposium here

Jenks-Large

Christopher Jenks

Killer Robots: Lethal autonomous weapons systems or “killer robots” have the ability to select and fire upon targets without human intervention. The idea of autonomous weapons has inspired science fiction writers for decades, but recent technological advancements have created very real dilemmas for policymakers and military leaders.

HorowitzPicture1

Michael Horowitz

Michael Horowitz, associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and Christopher Jenks, director of SMU’s Criminal Justice Clinic and assistant professor of law, discuss these dilemmas Thursday, March 3 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public; reservations are required. Please RSVP to tower@smu.edu.

Click here for more information

Calendar Highlights: Mustang Must-do’s for Jan. 22, 2016

Faculty Exhibition Opening Reception: An exhibition of works by Division of Art faculty members opens Friday, Jan. 22 and runs through Saturday, March 19, 2016. An opening reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22 in the Pollock GalleryHughes-Trigg Student Center. The Faculty Exhibition includes works in a wide range of media and gives students and the DFW community the opportunity to see and experience the work of teaching artists.

SMU Uprising: A free performance by contemporary Christian music duo Shane & Shane and talk by author and former Navy SEAL Chad Williams will be presented at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22. The evening, SMU Uprising, is sponsored by SMU’s Office of the Chaplain. Shane & Shane features solo artists Shane Barnard and Shane Everett. Known for their close harmonies and acoustic soft rock and country-influenced music, they released their tenth album, Psalms II, in 2015. Chad Williams, author of SEAL of God, served as a Navy SEAL from 2004 to 2010 before entering full-time ministry.

Drawing from the Masters: On Sunday, Jan. 24th enjoy an afternoon of informal drawing instruction as artist Ian O’Brien leads participants through the Meadows Museum’s galleries.  Beginning at 1:30 p.m., this session will provide an opportunity to explore a variety of techniques and improve drawing skills. The session is designed for adults and students ages 15 and older, and open to all abilities and experience levels. Drawing materials will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own sketchpads and pencils. Attendance is limited to 20 on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information contact Carmen Smith, 214-768-4677.

Anonymous Takeover: SMU Student Senate Diversity Committee is hosting a conversation on the power of Yik Yak’s anonymous posts and their effects on our community Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m in Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The Diversity Committee works to facilitate interaction and cultural awareness between various backgrounds and serves as a liaison between different ethnic, religious, sexual orientations, age groups, and nationalities within the SMU community by ensuring that they continue to have a constant voice within the Student Senate.

Remembering Refugees: The Department of Anthropology and the Embrey Human Rights Program present a lecture by renowned forced migration scholar David Haines on Thursday, Jan. 28 in 144 Simmons Hall. Serving as the keynote lecture for the SMU Anthropology Graduate Student Symposium, the lecture will offer a historical overview of refugee reception in the United States as well as a contemporary analysis of global connections. Refreshments will be served from 5-5:30 p.m and the lecture will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

 

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 15, 2015

Taking action against trafficking: SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program hosts a screening of 8 Days, a 2015 film about child sex trafficking in the United States, on Tuesday, Sept. 15 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. Representatives from the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and SMU’s Dedman School of Law will be on hand to discuss how you can help stop human trafficking. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the film begins at 7 p.m.

Delta Gamma Lecture flyer - Jerry Greenfield, Ben and Jerry'sSweet social responsibility: Ben & Jerry’s cofounder Jerry Greenfield will speak about the importance of community stewardship at SMU’s 2015 Delta Gamma Lectureship in Values and Ethics. The event, hosted by the University’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and sponsored by the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Delta Gamma, takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 15 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. The lecture is free and open to the public – and yes, there will be free ice cream. Read more from SMU News.

Meadows Jazz Orchestra Brown Bag: Bring your lunch for a brown-bag concert by the Meadows Jazz Orchestra, directed by Dylan Smith, at 12:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17 in the Taubman Atrium, Owen Arts Center. The concert will offer a sneak preview of the MJO’s 2015-16 season, and the ensemble features students from a number of degree programs and majors across Meadows School of the Arts and SMU. Admission is free.

Fra Angelico, 'The Virgin of the Pomegranate' - photo by Nancy GeorgeThe faces of Fra Angelico: Italian Renaissance expert Laurence Kanter, chief durator and Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art with the Yale University Art Gallery, examines the dual – and sometimes conflicting – images of Fra Angelico (ca. 1395-1455) as both a humble and spiritually inspired artist, and as a skillful businessman and a familiar of the powerful and politically connected. “Fra Angelico and the Early Renaissance in Florence” begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17 in the Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum. The lecture is free, and the Museum offers priority seating for members until 5:40 p.m. (Left, Fra Angelico’s The Virgin of the Pomegranate is on display as part of the Meadow Museum’s Treasures from the House of Alba through Jan. 3, 2016. Photo by Nancy George, SMU News.)

'Infanta Margarita in a Blue Dress,' Diego VelasquezThe master and Margarita: Meadows/Kress/Prado Fellow Rebecca Teresi discusses the story behind Diego Velázquez’ series of masterpieces depicting the Infanta Margarita Teresa of Spain in “Velázquez and the Infanta Margarita” at 12:15 p.m. Friday, September 18. The lecture is free, and you’ll also have a chance to view one of these masterworks, Infanta Margarita in a Blue Dress (1659, oil on canvas), on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, through Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015.

60-second songfest: SMU’s Opera Free For All series returns for 2015-16 with its popular season opener, which showcases every member of the Meadows Opera Theatre ensemble in 60-second arias and songs. “Bite-size Arias/Big-size Talents” begins at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free.

First major U.S. exhibition of masterworks from the House of Alba Collection debuts Sept. 11, 2015 at SMU’s Meadows Museum

'The Duchess of Alba in White,' Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

The Duchess of Alba in White, 1795, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828) . Oil on canvas. Colección Duques de Alba, Palacio de Liria, Madrid.

SMU’s Meadows Museum presents the first major exhibition in the United States of treasures from one of the oldest and most significant private art collections in Europe.

Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting is on view at the Meadows from Friday. Sept. 11, 2015 through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, and serves as a cornerstone of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, which continues throughout 2015.

Curated by Dr. Fernando Checa Cremades, former director of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Treasures from the House of Alba features more than 100 works — from paintings by Goya and Rubens to 16th-century tapestries by Willem de Pannemaker and 19th-century furniture created for Napoleon III — most of which have never been seen outside of Spain. The treasures on display include illuminated manuscripts, books, historic documents, miniatures, antiquities, prints, sculpture, drawings, and other objects.

Find more images from Treasures From the House of Alba at SMU’s Meadows Museum website

“These extraordinary works of art, many of which have never crossed the Atlantic before, are a treasure trove and a fount of new art historical knowledge,” said Mark Roglán, The Linda P. and William Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are honored to present the first exhibition of this outstanding collection in the United States, sharing these works of art that tell the story of a remarkable family and provide an opportunity to explore the panoply of cultural achievement and European history.”

Treasures from the House of Alba is organized chronologically according to seven periods of Alba family history, collecting, and patronage from the 15th to the 20th century:

  • The exhibition begins with the dynasty’s origins in the mid-15th century and rising influence under the 3rd Duke of Alba, Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, a prominent courtier in the service of the Spanish monarchy in the 16th  century.
  • This is followed by an exploration of the family’s close ties to the Marquis of Carpio, Europe’s greatest art collector of the 17th century, from whom the Duchy of Alba received important holdings of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and to the Duques of Veragua, from whom came the Christopher Columbus documents featured in the exhibit.
  • The exhibition also presents a section devoted to Goya and his relationship with the Duchess Doña Teresa Cayetana, and concludes with the extensive collecting activity of the late Duchess and her father since the beginning of the 20th century, which includes the acquisition  of works by such artists as Peter Paul Rubens, Joshua Reynolds, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pablo Picasso, among others.
  • The show features works from the family’s three most prominent palaces in Spain: the Palacio de Liria in Madrid, Palacio de las Dueñas in Seville, and Palacio de Monterrey in Salamanca.

In addition to works currently housed in the Alba collection, the exhibition includes loans from distinguished museum collections that were once part of the Alba holdings. These loans serve to complement the contributions from the Alba family and showcase the full scope of the family’s collecting history.

'Girl with Hat with Cherries,' 1880, Pierre Auguste Renoir

Girl with Hat with Cherries, 1880, Pierre Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919). Oil on canvas. Colección Duques de Alba, Palacio de Liria, Madrid.

The exhibition’s highlights include:

  • The Duchess of Alba in White by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1795, above right), a portrait that serves as testament to the close relationship between Teresa Cayetana de Silva Alvarez de Toledo, the 13th Duchess of Alba, and the famed Spanish painter.
  • Charles V and the Empress Isabella by Peter Paul Rubens (c. 1628), a double portrait painted after a lost work by Titian.
  • Girl with Hat with Cherries by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1880, at right), a portrait painted toward the end of the artist’s Impressionist period.
  • The Bible of the House of Alba, an early 15th-century illuminated manuscript and one of the earliest known translations of the Old Testament from Hebrew into a Romance language. It contains commentary written by both Christian and Jewish theologians, and was an attempt to encourage stronger ties between Christians and Jews.
  • One of Christopher Columbus’s logbooks, a set of manuscripts documenting the explorer’s journey of discovery of the New World in 1492. The House of Alba’s archive of 21 Christopher Columbus documents includes nine personal letters (one of which is addressed to Columbus’s son Diego) and four of the only remaining documents written during the time of his four voyages.
  • The Virgin of the Pomegranate by Fra Angelico (c. 1426), a centerpiece of the Alba family’s collection since 1817 when it was acquired in Florence by then-Duke of Alba Carlos Miguel Fitz- James Stuart. Rarely publicly displayed, the painting depicts the Madonna and Child engulfed in a golden cloth and flanked by two angels, and showcases Fra Angelico’s mastery of naturalistic compositions through the figures’ delicate features and surrounding drapery.
  • Mercury Enamored of Herse by Willem de Pannemaker (1570), one of eight mythological tapestries that comprise the only complete surviving example of a series depicting Ovid’s tale of the loves of Mercury and Herse.

The House of Alba — for centuries the most illustrious household in Spain, with close ties to the monarchy — remains one of the foremost noble families in Europe, with roots dating back to the mid-15th century when Fernando Álvarez de Toledo was named Count of the town of Alba de Tormes. The Albas have since forged connections with members of some of the most prominent dynasties in European history, including the House of Stuart; the Count-Dukes of Olivares; the Duchy of Veragua (descendants of Christopher Columbus); Napoleon III and his wife, Eugenia de Montijo; and the Churchill family.

> The Dallas Morning News: The Duke of Alba escorts family’s rare art collection to SMU

Over the past five centuries, the Alba family’s patronage, connoisseurship, and ties to Western royalty have shaped the growth and trajectory of the Alba collection, now one of the greatest private collections in the world. Until her passing in November 2014, the head of the Alba family was Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, the 18th Duchess of Alba, who bore more recognized titles than any other noble today. She is succeeded by her son, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo.

“Our will is to share the works and pieces that make up the collection of the House of Alba Foundation with a public that is increasingly knowledgeable and more interested in culture and history,” said Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, Duke of Alba. “This selection of objects allows us to present different works and documents that have survived the vicissitudes of history and represents the greatest treasure of the legacy of our family. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for making the public aware of the steady and silent work of preservation and upkeep that the House of Alba has been doing for centuries.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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