Meadows Museum

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

February 24, 2017|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…)

October 24, 2016|News, Research|

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

September 29, 2016|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

April 13, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

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

February 26, 2016|Calendar Highlights|
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