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Uplifting Catholic Culture – Visit to the Meadows Museum August 3, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Victory.
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Longtime readers MFG and TE have advised me to visit the Meadows Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University for some time.  My family and I finally got around to doing so and it was very much worth the trip.

The main exhibit was not of interest to us, but what we found truly outstanding was items from the Meadows’ collection of Catholic and Spanish art.  There were some really amazing pieces on display.  I tried to photograph as best I could.  They barred permission to photograph some of my favorite works, large triptychs and other altar pieces from various churches in Spain.  One was truly impressive, a triple homage to St. Peter, Our Lady, and St. Blaise, dating from late 1400s Aragon.  It was huge and just covered in gold flake, but…….no picture-taking allowed.  Even without flash?  No picture.  How can that even harm the thing, am I stealing its precious photons?

Well, here’s what it looks like, anyway:

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Unfortunately, a photograph can not give you the scale of the work: I would guess it’s 20 ft wide and 16 ft tall.  You also miss much of the detail, which was very impressive.  One thing I really appreciated about the museum was the intimacy allowed, they would let you get up close to the work to inspect details.

I’d really love to see this hanging in a church, again, instead of a museum. Ditto for much of the below.

Another problem was that few of these pieces were marked.  They had a handful of guidebooks that gave info about the works but those were snapped up early and we never got one.  I asked someone if I could just look at their’s for a moment to find out about this painting and they practically growled at me.

Huge high marks for the museum: Spanish and Spanish-Catholic art, general Catholic art, great collection of late medieval and baroque works, proximity to works, sensible, not-crowded layout.  Down sides: bad lighting (it really detracted) that washed out the top third of many works from most angles, insufficient guide books/placards identifying/explaining works.

But the museum is something every Catholic should visit.  They have some really notable and rare works.  They do have frequent exhibits of more secular art but for me the Spanish and especially Spanish-Catholic works were by far the most interesting.  I really enjoyed the visit.

Pics I took below.  Even where works had placards adjacent telling the name of the work, subject, artist, date, context, etc., it was too much to keep track of.  I will try to fill in where I remember any details:

Late baroque of Piazza of San Marco in Venice

Late baroque of Piazza of San Marco in Venice

El Greco St. Francis receiving the stigmata

El Greco St. Francis receiving the stigmata

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See what I mean about lighting?

No clue

No clue

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I know, some didn’t come out very well.  But again note lighting.

These two are 12th century frescoes,  so nearly 1000 years old.  Frescoes were used more in the early Church before painting became more common due to technological advancement.

These two are 12th century frescoes, so nearly 1000 years old. Frescoes were used more in the early Church before painting became more common due to technological advancement.

Last Supper.  Note Judas

Last Supper. Note Judas

This work was unmarked.  What is this scene?  Our Lady consecrating a bishop?!?  I really loved this piece, it as 10' x 8' easily and had amazing detail.  Really impressive, I could have sat looking at it for an hour.

This work was unmarked. What is this scene? Our Lady consecrating a bishop?!? I really loved this piece, it as 10′ x 8′ easily and had amazing detail. Really impressive, I could have sat looking at it for an hour.

Again, what is this scene?   A mass crucifixion?  When?  The work is from 15th century

Again, what is this scene? A mass crucifixion? When? The work is from 15th century

St. Jerome.  Awesome

St. Jerome. Awesome

St. Paul the hermit.

St. Paul the hermit by Jusepe de Ribera, circa 1640

Nativity.  Had really striking use of color and shadow.  Photography does not even remotely do justice

Nativity. Had really striking use of color and shadow. Photography does not even remotely do justice

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Huge painting of Our Lady Queen of Heaven

Huge painting of Our Lady Queen of Heaven

Assumption

Assumption

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My favorite. It wasn’t large, but the color was so striking.  Both my wife and I were blown away by this. Unfortunately the translucent tears from Our Lady could not be photographed, at least by me. Oil on Wood, circa 1560, by Luis de Morales Pieta:

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I felt so many of the paintings had to be experienced directly, photography simply cannot do them justice.  I’d really like to go back on a weeknight when they are less apt to be crowded.  I think my kids enjoyed the visit, as well, though with decreasing interest with age.  They were very well behaved regardless, and I was very proud of them.

The good thing is that much of the Meadow’s own collection was not on display, including some very significant Catholic and secular works, so we have much to look forward to in returning.

TE and MFG, thanks again for the recommendation!

Comments

1. docmx001 - August 3, 2015

How timely; I will be in Dallas later this week!

2. Baseballmom - August 3, 2015

Wow! Those are some very beautiful paintings… Thanks for posting.

3. skeinster - August 3, 2015

I am loving the St. Jerome, with his rock. My rule is: you can be as acerbic as St. Jerome (“St. Jerome was mean, so it’s okay!”), if you are willing to do St. Jerome’s penances, as well. ; )

Haven’t been to the Meadows in years- you’ve inspired me to go again.

I’m more familiar with the collection at the DMA- the have less religious art than the Meadows, but they have some great individual pieces, including several works from the Spanish colonies in the Americas. One is a wonderfully symbolic Immaculate Conception- very catechetical.

4. Carrie Hunnicutt - August 4, 2015

So glad you enjoyed your visit! I’ll pass along your comments to the staff. Re: photography, our loan agreements prevent us from allowing even non-flash photography of works on loan to us (such as the great altarpiece, which is on long-term loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). I can grant members of the media an exemption from this rule if I’m contacted in advance to make arrangements. I’d like to send you further information about our collection, please contact me directly, thank you!
Carrie Hunnicutt
Marketing & PR Manager, Meadows Museum


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