Meadows Museum curator solves mystery of the Spanish masterworks

Meadows School of the Arts

Meadows Museum curator solves mystery of the Spanish masterworks

YouTube Preview ImageSMU’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.
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October 24, 2016|News, Research|

Coverage of July’s Dallas police ambush is the topic of SMU’s 2016 Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics, Wednesday, Oct. 19

SMU’s 2016 Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics will focus on the events of July 7, 2016, when a gunman killed four Dallas police officers and a DART officer during a Black Lives Matter protest march downtown.

The 17th annual lecture, “Making Sense of a Tragedy in Real Time: Media Coverage of the Dallas Ambush,” will be a panel discussion featuring Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson and Emmy-winning CBS 11 journalist Steve Pickett.

The event takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free, and tickets are not required. The Sammons Lecture Series is presented by the Division of Journalism in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Steve Pickett, CBS 11 NewsSteve Pickett is a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist for CBS 11 News. He has spent 20 of his 34 years in broadcast news in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. He was on air with live reporting the night of the Dallas police ambush shootings. He has been recognized nationally for his coverage of public education, with heavy focus on the Dallas Independent School District. The Press Club of Dallas acknowledged his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He also was embedded with members of the Texas National Guard in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pickett has worked in newsrooms in Portland, Oregon; Fresno, California; Oklahoma City; and Wichita Falls. He is a native Oklahoman and a graduate of The University of Oklahoma.

Dallas Mayor Mike RawlingsMike Rawlings was elected mayor of Dallas in 2011 and again in 2015. He is a native of Borger, Texas, and a graduate of Boston College. Following his first election he launched GrowSouth, his signature initiative to spur economic development south of the Trinity River. He has also sought to improve public education and led a campaign against domestic violence, Dallas Men Against Abuse. On the evening of July 7 when four Dallas Police Department officers and one DART officer were killed in an ambush, Mayor Rawlings worked closely with Dallas Police Chief David Brown to assess and end the situation as well as keeping media and the public informed.

Mike Wilson, Dallas Morning NewsMike Wilson is editor of The Dallas Morning News, responsible for news coverage in print and online. Wilson began his career at the Miami Herald where he worked as a writer and editor. He joined the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) in 1994, working 18 years as a writer, editor and, finally, managing editor. His staff won two Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure. In 2013 he moved to ESPN as founding managing editor of Nate Silver’s data journalism website, FiveThirtyEight. Wilson graduated from Tufts University. He has written two books, Right on the Edge of Crazy, about the U.S. downhill ski team, and The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison, about the founder of Oracle Corporation.

> Read more from SMU Meadows

October 7, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Artist-in-Residence Will Power to present free workshop for emerging playwrights; applications due Friday, Oct. 14, 2016

Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Artist-in-Residence Will Power leads a free six-week workshop at SMU for emerging DFW-area playwrights.

Applications are now being accepted for the fourth annual Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop, a free, six-week program for emerging playwrights presented by SMU faculty member Will Power.

Power, artist-in-residence in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and playwright-in-residence and Mellon Foundation Fellow at Dallas Theater Center, will work closely with participants to sharpen their writing and help them develop professional relationships and learn from their peers in a rigorous and supportive environment.

> Learn more about Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Each participant will develop his or her own three-scene project, followed by a closed reading for workshop members with actors from SMU and the local community. SMU will host the program, which will meet once a week from Nov. 1-Dec. 5, 2016. Participants must be available on Nov. 1 and then on Monday evenings through Dec. 5.

The Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop is intended for emerging and mid-career professional playwrights who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have previously written at least one play and are able to demonstrate a unique and compelling voice.

Download a 2016 Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop application

Interested writers should apply by submitting a completed application, a 10-page excerpt from any play they’ve written, a full-length play (one or two acts), a résumé or biography, and a one-page summary explaining their writing goals, the ways in which they’d like to develop as an artist and why they would like to participate in the program.

Application forms are available online and should be submitted via e-mail to Will Power. The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. Central time.

In its first three years, the Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop has helped foster the work of a number of local theatre artists. Award-winning playwright and SMU staff member Jonathan Norton ’11, a participant in the inaugural class in 2013-14, said the workshop was “a game changer for me. It was great, and very necessary, to have a place to return to week after week to deep-dive into the craft of playwriting.

“Will creates a very supportive environment that is still incredibly demanding and rigorous. Through the workshop I was able to articulate my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and develop strategies to get better.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

October 7, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News, Save the Date|

National Night Out 2016 at SMU features active-shooter simulation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4

National Night Out 2016 posterThe SMU community can learn more about what to do in an active-shooter situation through a simulated event that is part of the University’s National Night Out 2016.

The annual event, which promotes partnership among police and communities, is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 on the Main Quad.

The SMU and University Park Police Departments, along with student actors from Meadows School of the Arts, will be part of the active-shooter simulation, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of McFarlin Auditorium.

National Night Out also features free food and refreshments, as well as safety information from police and the University Park Fire Department. This year’s event is the culmination of SMU’s National Preparedness Month activities, designed to educate faculty, staff and students about safety in the event of evacuation, severe weather or lockdown situations.

October 3, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Research: Rare inscription names mysterious Etruscan goddess

Greg Warden with Etruscan steleArchaeologists translating a very rare inscription have discovered the name of a goddess in a sacred text that is possibly the longest such Etruscan inscription ever discovered on stone.

The discovery indicates that Uni – a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother goddess at this particular place – may have been the titular deity worshipped at the sanctuary of Poggio Colla, a key settlement in Italy for the ancient Etruscan civilization.

“We can at this point affirm that this discovery is one of the most important Etruscan discoveries of the last few decades,” said SMU professor emeritus Gregory Warden. The University is the main sponsor of the archaeological dig.

“It’s a discovery that will provide not only valuable information about the nature of sacred practices at Poggio Colla, but also fundamental data for understanding the concepts and rituals of the Etruscans, as well as their writing and perhaps their language.”

Scientists discovered the ancient stone slab embedded as part of a temple wall at the Poggio Colla dig, where many other Etruscan objects have been found, including a ceramic fragment with the earliest birth scene in European art. That object reinforces the interpretation of a fertility cult at Poggio Colla, Warden said.

Poggia Colla steleNow Etruscan language experts are studying the 500-pound stele to translate the text. It’s very rare to identify the god or goddess worshipped at an Etruscan sanctuary.

“The location of its discovery – a place where prestigious offerings were made – and the possible presence in the inscription of the name of Uni, as well as the care of the drafting of the text, which brings to mind the work of a stone carver who faithfully followed a model transmitted by a careful and educated scribe, suggest that the document had a dedicatory character,” said Adriano Maggiani, formerly professor at the University of Venice and one of the scholars working to decipher the inscription.

“It is also possible that it expresses the laws of the sanctuary — a series of prescriptions related to ceremonies that would have taken place there, perhaps in connection with an altar or some other sacred space,” said Warden, co-director and principal investigator of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project that made the discovery.

Warden said it will be easier to speak with more certainty once the archaeologists are able to completely reconstruct the text, which consists of as many as 120 characters or more.

While archaeologists understand how Etruscan grammar works, and know some of its words and alphabet, they expect to discover new words never seen before – particularly since this discovery is not a funerary text. Permanent Etruscan inscriptions are rare, as Etruscans typically used linen cloth books or wax tablets. The texts that have been preserved are quite short and are from graves.

Besides being possibly the longest Etruscan inscription on stone, it is also one of the three longest sacred texts to date. The sandstone slab, which dates to the 6th century BCE and is nearly four feet tall by more than two feet wide, was discovered in the final stages of two decades of digging at Mugello Valley, which is northeast of Florence in north central Italy.

Other objects unearthed in the past 20 years have shed light on Etruscan worship, beliefs, gifts to divinities, and discoveries related to the daily lives of elites and non-elites, including workshops, kilns, pottery and homes. The material helps document ritual activity from the 7th century to the 2nd century BCE.

— Margaret Allen

> Read the full story and see more images at SMUResearch.com

September 12, 2016|News, Research|
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