Meadows Museum to premiere exhibition of masterworks by Jusepe de Ribera on March 12 - June 11, 2017

Meadows Museum to premiere exhibition of masterworks by Jusepe de Ribera on March 12

DALLAS (SMU) - In 2017, the Meadows Museum at SMU is co-organizing and will present two standout exhibitions by Spanish Golden Age master artists and contemporaries, Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652) and Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), along with a focused exhibition exploring an element of artistic rivalry between Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957). 

Between Heaven and Hell: The Drawings of Jusepe de Ribera will be the most comprehensive presentation ever dedicated to the artist’s drawings — and the first major monographic exhibition organized on the artist in the United States in the past 25 years. Although Ribera is known principally for paintings and prints, he produced an extensive corpus of drawings, many of which are independent studies or works of art in their own right.

Co-organized with the Museo Nacional del Prado, the exhibition celebrates the publication of the first catalogue raisonné of the artist’s drawings, published jointly by the Meadows Museum, the Museo Nacional del Prado, and Fundación Focus. The Meadows Museum is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition.

“Between Ribera, Zurbarán and Picasso, it is difficult to imagine a better trio of artists and exhibitions in a single year,” said Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. “With Ribera, we are presenting nearly one-third of the artist’s surviving drawings in a very comprehensive view of his work, while the series of Old Testament paintings by Zurbarán is the first presentation of a Zurbarán series in America and offers an in-depth exploration of a singular subject by the artist. These exhibitions build on our ongoing program of international collaborations, which continue to make us one of the most desirable venues for anyone interested in the art of Spain.”

About Jusepe de Ribera

Jusepe de RiberaBorn in Valencia, Jusepe de Ribera traveled to Italy as a young man, making his way to Rome, where he continued to developed his “realist” painting style, and where he lived with a group of Caravaggisti, followers of renowned Lombard painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). Ribera then moved permanently to Naples—part of the Spanish Empire at the time—where he significantly influenced the course of artistic production in the 17th century. Ribera is regarded as one of the masters of the Spanish Golden Age, it has been 25 years since he was the focus of a major retrospective in the United States.

Unlike Caravaggio himself — who seems not to have made drawings — Ribera produced a remarkable corpus of graphic art, with around 160 drawings attributable to him. Between Heaven and Hell highlights the variety of Ribera’s drawings, the technical skill in use of pen, ink, and chalk, and the extraordinary originality of his subject matter, which includes anatomical figure studies, lively street scenes, capricious subjects, and scenes of martyrdom and torture. This exhibition includes 47 of Ribera’s drawings, 12 prints, 11 paintings, and one relief sculpture. Viewing such a wide range of drawings alongside works of art in other media allows the viewer a rare glimpse into the artist’s creative process. In some cases, the drawings are directly preparatory for the composition of a painting or print; in others, they enable the artist free rein to express his extraordinary imagination and creativity.

About the Between Heaven and Hell exhibition 

The Meadows presentation is organized thematically rather than chronologically in order to explore revealing parallels between the works across the trajectory of Ribera’s career. In some cases the themes relate to recurring motifs in Ribera’s work — such as hermits and martyrs or scenes of torture — while in others they concern the artist’s particular approach to representing the world around him in graphic form, whether through his uncompromising realism, or his profound interest in the macabre.

Ribera’s drawings were studied by the German connoisseur Walter Vitzthum in the 1960s and by the American art historian Jonathan Brown in the 1970s and early 80s. This exhibition coincides with the publication of the first catalogue raisonné of the artist’s drawings written by Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, former deputy director of the Museo del Prado and now director of the National Gallery in London; together with Dr. Edward Payne, former Meadows/Mellon/Prado curatorial fellow at the Meadows Museum and now the senior curator of Spanish art at Auckland Castle in County Durham; as well as Elena Cenalmor from the Museo Nacional del Prado.

About the Meadows Museum

The Meadows Museum in Dallas is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to Southern Methodist University. The museum opened to the public in 1965, marking the first step in fulfilling Meadows's vision to create a "small Prado for Texas." Today, the Meadows is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art in the world. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries, and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters.


The Meadows Museum and the Museo Nacional del Prado announced in 2009 the launch of a three-year partnership that included interdisciplinary research at Southern Methodist University (SMU), an unprecedented fellowship exchange between the two museums, a range of public programs, and the loan of three major paintings from the Prado. The first painting, El Greco's Pentecost (1596-1600), was exhibited at the Meadows in fall 2010. Jusepe de Ribera's Mary Magdalene (1640-41), the second painting, was paired with three additional loans of Ribera works from other collections in an exhibition that took place in fall 2011. Following the success of the first three years of partnership, in summer 2012 the museums announced an expanded partnership, which began with a fall 2012 exhibition highlighting the third loan, Diego Velazquez's Portrait of King Philip IV (c. 1623-28). The expanded agreement continued the many initiatives the museums began in 2009 and included two new collaborative exhibitions: Impressions of Europe: Nineteenth-Century Vistas by Martin Rico and The Spanish Gesture: Drawings from Murillo to Goya in the Hamburger Kunsthalle, held in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Between Heaven and Hell: The Drawings of Jusepe de Ribera (March 12-June 11, 2017) marks the sixth collaborative exhibition between the two institutions, and the partnership continues into the present with the recent addition of a post-doctoral fellowship exchange and conservation work by the Prado's staff on paintings within the Meadows's collection.


Founding Collection of Spanish Art from the 15th through 20th Centuries

The paintings that comprise the Museum's founding collection range from early Renaissance works, painted at the end of the 15th century, to modern works by Picasso, Miro, and Juan Gris. The majority of the collection, however, focuses on the Spanish "Golden Age." From the 1550s to nearly the beginning of the 18th century, Spain experienced a flowering of the arts. The Algur H. Meadows Collection contains masterworks by Velazquez, Murillo, Ribera, and many other artists working during this time. Of particular note are several paintings by Francisco de Goya, including Yard with Madmen, and complete first edition sets of Goya's four great print series: La Tauromaquia, Los Disparates, Los Caprichos, and Los Desastres de la Guerra. The collection includes a number of fine examples of 19th-century Realist and Impressionist works from Spain as well, including works by Fortuny and Sorolla.