Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591-1652), Mary Magdalene, 1641. Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, P1103. Image © Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
“This partnership, now in its second year, builds on museum founder Algur H. Meadows’ vision to establish a ‘Prado on the Prairie’,” said Meadows Museum Director Mark Roglán. “With this exhibition, visitors have the opportunity to see Ribera’s masterpiece in a new light. The painting is in dialogue with the incredible collection of Spanish art that Meadows helped build, and the university’s scholars will examine the work from a variety of perspectives, deepening understanding of its cultural, social, and religious contexts.”
Though Ribera is known for his dark 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 seventeenth-century Italy and Spain, and was a frequent subject for paintings of the time. Ribera painted the Magdalene several times, consistently portraying her as a sympathetic and sensitive figure. Ribera’s Magdalene is accompanied by three additional loans: 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 Ecstasy (c. 1640) from the Colección Pérez Simón in Mexico City; and Saint Mary of Egypt (1651) from the Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri in Naples, Italy.
This fall, the two museums will also initiate The Kress/Meadows/Prado Curatorial Fellowship, an annual exchange with one appointment made by each institution. This will be the first curatorial internship ever to be mounted by the Prado with a foreign institution. Sponsored jointly by the Meadows Museum, the Prado and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York, the fellowships will provide graduate students with the opportunity to gain professional and international experience, and to work closely with the curatorial staff at each institution. The Meadows Museum has selected Iraida Rodriguez-Negrón, a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, as the first recipient of this fellowship; she will spend approximately ten months at the Meadows, followed by six weeks at the Prado.
This Ribera exhibition and project have been organized by the Meadows Museum and the Museo Nacional del Prado, and are funded by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation.