I arrived in Dallas on a warm afternoon in late August. As I was leaving the airport the first thing I noticed were these beautiful banners fluttering in the wind publicizing the new exhibition that was about to open at the Meadows Museum, Jusepe de Ribera’s Mary Magdalene in a New Context. At that moment it became clear to me that I was right where I was supposed to be. This exhibition and the fellowship that brings me to this city for a full year are part of the three-year groundbreaking partnership between the Meadows Museum of Southern Methodist University and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Thanks to this initiative, visitors to the museum have the unique opportunity to appreciate some of the most important works in the history of Spanish art, which rarely leave the Prado, within the context of the already extraordinary collection of Spanish art works owned by the Meadows. And thanks to this partnership, I am enjoying one of the most exceptional experiences in my professional life, especially at this time when I am about to complete my Ph.D. and embark on a career in a field that has enthralled me for most of my life. Not only am I having the unique opportunity to closely study and enjoy the collection at the Meadows, and to work closely with its wonderful staff that has welcomed me so wholeheartedly to the institution, but I will also work for six weeks in the Spring at the Prado in Madrid, and have access to its extraordinary collection, even to those works that are never on view. What else can a Spanish art historian ask for?!?
Anyone who is familiar with the Meadows knows that this museum houses exemplary works of Spanish art from medieval times to the twenty-first century. El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and Picasso are all represented in the collection. But there are many more, although probably less known, masters of Spanish art whose work is no less deserving of recognition, like Luis de Morales, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Juan Bautista Maino, Juan Carreño de Miranda, Vicente López y Portaña, Ignacio Zuloaga, and Juan Gris, just to name a few. I hope that my work in the museum will contribute to our knowledge of these masters and their production. All hispanophiles, lovers of art, Dallas residents, and visitors should be immensely grateful to Algur H. Meadows (1899-1978) whose vision and love of Spanish art and culture are responsible for the magnificent collection that we enjoy today.
This entry is my first contribution to Tabula Rasa, the new Meadows Museum blog. I will write regularly during the next year, and will share with you my thoughts on the experiences I will be living as the Meadows/Kress/Prado Fellow. Insights on the permanent collection, special exhibitions, and my experiences at the Prado are some of the topics I plan to share with you. I look forward to reading your comments, or answering any questions you might have. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to give my heartfelt thanks to the Meadows Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Meadows Museum, the Eugene McDermott Foundation, and all who have made this fellowship possible. To say that I will take full advantage of this opportunity that I was so fortunate to receive is a great understatement.