Meadows - Prado partnership presents Ribera’s “Mary Magdalene”

The Meadows Museum and Spain's Prado Museum team up again for a great exhibit: Ribera's “Mary Magdalene.”

Jusepe de Ribera’s masterpiece, “Mary Magdalene” from the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid

DALLAS (SMU) – Jusepe de Ribera’s masterpiece, “Mary Magdalene,” from the collection of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain, is the centerpiece of a new Meadows Museum exhibition at SMU.

Mary Magdalene by Jusepe de Ribera
Mary Magdalene, 1641, by Jusepe de Ribera
Oil on canvas  
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

The exhibition, “Ribera: Mary Magdalene in a New Context,” (Sept. 18, 2011  - Jan. 15, 2012) marks the second year of the museum’s partnership with the Prado and includes other notable works by Ribera and his followers from both the Meadows Museum and other international museums and private collections.

Though Ribera is known for his gloomy and startling works, often depicting scenes of horror, his representation of the Magdalene is tender, emphasizing the beauty and elegance of his subject. The Magdalene was a central devotional figure in 17th-century Italy and Spain and was a frequent subject for paintings.

Ribera painted the Magdalene several times, consistently portraying her as a sympathetic and sensitive figure. Ribera’s “Magdalene” will be accompanied by three additional Ribera paintings on loan for the exhibition:

  • “Assumption of the Magdalene” (1636) from the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid
  • “Saint Mary of Egypt in Ecstacy” (c. 1640) from Colección Pérez Simón in Mexico City
  • “Saint Mary of Egypt” (1651) from the Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri in Naples.

Curated by Gabriele Finaldi, deputy director for collections and research at the Prado, the exhibition looks at Ribera’s representation of Mary Magdalene and other saintly females, and how it led to a departure from his traditional style. It is accompanied by a bilingual publication published by the Meadows Museum in collaboration with the Prado, and a scholarly symposium on September 16, 2011.

The exhibit is funded by a generous gift from the Meadows Foundation and the Eugene McDermott Foundation of Dallas.

The exhibition is part of the museum’s multifaceted three-year partnership with the Prado, a collaboration that includes the organization of exhibitions centered on pivotal masterpieces on loan from the Prado, the creation of scholarly texts and an internship exchange between the two institutions.

Jusepe de Ribera
Jusepe de Ribera
“This partnership, now in its second year, builds on museum founder Algur H. Meadows’ vision to establish a ‘Prado on the Prairie,’ said Mark Roglán, director of the Meadows Museum. “With this exhibition, visitors will have the opportunity to see Ribera’s masterpiece in a new light. The painting will be in dialogue with the incredible collection of Spanish art that Meadows helped build, and further the understanding and appreciation of this great artist from a variety of perspectives, deepening understanding of its cultural, social and religious contexts.”

This fall the two museums also will initiate the Kress/Meadows/Prado Curatorial Fellowship, an annual exchange with one appointment made by each institution. With the support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York, the fellowships will provide graduate students with the opportunity to gain professional and international experience. The Meadows Museum has selected Iraida Rodriguez-Negrón, a Ph.D candidate at New York University, as the first recipient of this fellowship.

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