Between Heaven and Hell: The Drawings of Jusepe de Ribera

March 12 – June 11, 2017

Drawing played a central role in the art of Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). Born in Valencia, Ribera spent most of his career in Naples where he significantly influenced the course of artistic production in the seventeenth century. Although little is known of his youth, training, and journey from Spain to Italy, Ribera is recorded in Rome in 1606, in Parma in 1611, and in Naples from 1616 until his death in 1652. After arriving in Italy, Ribera encountered the revolutionary paintings of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), whose distinctive qualities Ribera adopted in his own work, prompting him to be recognized as a Caravaggesque artist. Yet unlike Caravaggio, who famously did not make drawings on paper, Ribera was both an extraordinary painter and a prolific graphic artist. He produced a remarkable corpus of drawings as well as an important group of prints, and it is the strength of his works on paper – in addition to his paintings – that sets Ribera apart from his Caravaggist contemporaries.

Between Heaven and Hell: The Drawings of Jusepe de Ribera coincides with the joint publication by the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Meadows Museum of the first complete catalogue raisonné of the artist’s drawings. The study is authored 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 and now the senior curator of Spanish art at Auckland Castle in County Durham, as well as Doña Elena Cenalmor Bruquetas from the Museo del Prado. A total of 157 autograph sheets have been identified and catalogued by the authors, although Ribera certainly produced many more drawings during his lifetime, perhaps even double the number that survives.

Sheets by Ribera are widely dispersed in public and private collections throughout the world. This exhibition showcases highlights by Ribera from collections in Canada, France, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Drawings are displayed in the context of related paintings and prints, and the exhibition is organized not chronologically but thematically in order to create striking juxtapositions between works across the trajectory of Ribera’s career. Between Heaven and Hell celebrates the variety of Ribera’s drawings, the technical skill in his use of pen, ink, and chalk, and the extraordinary originality of his subject matter, spanning anatomical figure studies and lively street scenes, to capricious subjects and scenes of martyrdom and torture.

On view at the Meadows Museum will be a total of forty-six drawings, twelve prints, eleven paintings, and one relief sculpture. Curated by Dr. Finaldi at the Prado venue and Dr. Payne at the Meadows venue, the project represents a continuation of the longstanding and productive collaboration between the two museums. Between Heaven and Hell: The Drawings of Jusepe de Ribera is the first major monographic exhibition organized on the artist in the United States in the last twenty-five years, and the most comprehensive presentation ever dedicated to the artist’s drawings.

This exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum and the Museo Nacional del Prado and funded by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation.

Thursday, April 6, 6:00 p.m.
EVENING LECTURES
Connoisseurship and Authority in Ribera’s Graphic Oeuvre
Hannah Friedman, visiting assistant professor of art history, Oberlin College
Jusepe de Ribera produced drawings and etchings that assert his exemplarity as a master draftsman. This lecture explores the role of drawing and etching within Ribera’s larger body of work as an expression of expertise and authority over the production and evaluation of art. We will consider examples of Ribera’s investment in early seventeenth-century practices of “connoisseurship.” Both the producers and consumers of art were thinking creatively in this period about what the criteria were for judging art, and what sort of activity it was to acquire and to study it.
Seating is limited. Free; advance reservation required. To book your reservation, call 214-768-8587.
Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

 

Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m-1 p.m.
FAMILY DAY
SMU Founder’s Day Weekend Celebration
Visitors of all ages can explore the artist’s process from drawing to painting and printmaking through our special exhibition of the works of Jusepe de Ribera. Activities will include sketching in the galleries, printmaking, and sensory approaches engaging visitors through sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The program will include special entertainment, activities, refreshments, and more!
Free

 

Thursday, April 20, 6:00 p.m.
EVENING LECTURES
Ribera and the Empire of Resemblances
Todd Olson, professor, early modern art, University of California, Berkley
Jusepe de Ribera transferred his compositional experiments in rotation, reversal, and repetition from his etchings to his drawings and paintings. In a 1649 pen and wash drawing of the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, who was known as an apostle of the Indies, Ribera revisited and reversed the composition of a 1624 etching in the Meadows collection depicting the flaying of the saint. Through Ribera’s exploration of the persistence and migration of images in his studio practice, the artist addressed the anxieties of resemblances between colonial Latin America, known as the “other Indies,” and Naples.
Seating is limited. Free; advance reservation required. To book your reservation, call 214-768-8587.
Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

 

Friday, April 28, 12:15 p.m.
GALLERY TALKS
“Disegnare meglio che il Caravaggio:” Ribera’s Drawing Practice in Context
Mary Vaccaro, professor of art history, University of Texas at Arlington
Free with regular Museum admission.
Virginia Meadows Galleries

 

Thursday, June 8, 2017, 6–7:30 pm
(All dates: June 8, 15, 22, 29)
LECTURE SERIES
The Global Art Community: A 17th Century Phenomenon
Nancy Cohen Israel, Art historian, Owner of Art à la Carte
While Spain claims Jusepe de Ribera as one of its greatest painters, Ribera himself spent the vast majority of his long career in Italy. From his early days in Rome to the decades he spent in the Spanish-governed kingdom of Naples, Ribera became part of the international circle of artists and collectors touched by artistic trends of the time, including the Caravaggisti. At the same time, his contemporary, Francisco de Zurbarán, was painting for cosmopolitan collectors in Seville and the New World. This series will serve as a bridge between the Meadows’s spring and fall exhibitions and will explore how these international ties between the creative and collector classes ultimately shaped the art of Spain’s Golden Age and spread it across land and sea.
$50 for the 4-part series; free for Museum members, SMU staff, faculty and students. Advance registration is required. To register, please call 214.768.8587.
Constantin Foundation Seminar Room

 

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 6–7:30 pm
(All dates: June 8, 15, 22, 29)
LECTURE SERIES
The Global Art Community: A 17th Century Phenomenon
Nancy Cohen Israel, Art historian, Owner of Art à la Carte
While Spain claims Jusepe de Ribera as one of its greatest painters, Ribera himself spent the vast majority of his long career in Italy. From his early days in Rome to the decades he spent in the Spanish-governed kingdom of Naples, Ribera became part of the international circle of artists and collectors touched by artistic trends of the time, including the Caravaggisti. At the same time, his contemporary, Francisco de Zurbarán, was painting for cosmopolitan collectors in Seville and the New World. This series will serve as a bridge between the Meadows’s spring and fall exhibitions and will explore how these international ties between the creative and collector classes ultimately shaped the art of Spain’s Golden Age and spread it across land and sea.
$50 for the 4-part series; free for Museum members, SMU staff, faculty and students. Advance registration is required. To register, please call 214.768.8587.
Constantin Foundation Seminar Room

 

Thursday, June 22, 2017, 6–7:30 pm
(All dates: June 8, 15, 22, 29)
LECTURE SERIES
The Global Art Community: A 17th Century Phenomenon
Nancy Cohen Israel, Art historian, Owner of Art à la Carte
While Spain claims Jusepe de Ribera as one of its greatest painters, Ribera himself spent the vast majority of his long career in Italy. From his early days in Rome to the decades he spent in the Spanish-governed kingdom of Naples, Ribera became part of the international circle of artists and collectors touched by artistic trends of the time, including the Caravaggisti. At the same time, his contemporary, Francisco de Zurbarán, was painting for cosmopolitan collectors in Seville and the New World. This series will serve as a bridge between the Meadows’s spring and fall exhibitions and will explore how these international ties between the creative and collector classes ultimately shaped the art of Spain’s Golden Age and spread it across land and sea.
$50 for the 4-part series; free for Museum members, SMU staff, faculty and students. Advance registration is required. To register, please call 214.768.8587.
Constantin Foundation Seminar Room

 

Thursday, June 29, 2017, 6–7:30 pm
(All dates: June 8, 15, 22, 29)
LECTURE SERIES
The Global Art Community: A 17th Century Phenomenon
Nancy Cohen Israel, Art historian, Owner of Art à la Carte
While Spain claims Jusepe de Ribera as one of its greatest painters, Ribera himself spent the vast majority of his long career in Italy. From his early days in Rome to the decades he spent in the Spanish-governed kingdom of Naples, Ribera became part of the international circle of artists and collectors touched by artistic trends of the time, including the Caravaggisti. At the same time, his contemporary, Francisco de Zurbarán, was painting for cosmopolitan collectors in Seville and the New World. This series will serve as a bridge between the Meadows’s spring and fall exhibitions and will explore how these international ties between the creative and collector classes ultimately shaped the art of Spain’s Golden Age and spread it across land and sea.
$50 for the 4-part series; free for Museum members, SMU staff, faculty and students. Advance registration is required. To register, please call 214.768.8587.
Constantin Foundation Seminar Room

Spring Flings (Dallas Morning News, Mar 13, 2017)

Ribera Dibujante Llega Al Meadows Museum (ARS Magazine, Mar 8, 2017)

The New Season – Art (The New York Times, Arts & Leisure, Sun, Sep 18, 2016)

Carrie Sanger
Marketing & PR Manager
csanger@smu.edu
214.768.1584