Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain
The Meadows Museum, in collaboration with The National Gallery of Art, presents the first major U.S. exhibition dedicated to Spanish sculptor Alonso Berruguete.
Alonso Berruguete, active on the Iberian Peninsula during the first half of the 16th century, initially trained as a painter before becoming known for his painted sculptures in wood. The exhibition presents more than 40 works from across his career, including examples of his earliest paintings from his time in Italy, where he trained under the influence of Michelangelo, among others. His abilities as draftsman will also be celebrated with the largest group of his drawings ever to be assembled. Thus, his work was grounded in the traditions of his native Spain and refined by exposure to the height of the Italian Renaissance; through his natural talent for anatomical precision, dynamic movement, and psychological insight, he revolutionized Spanish art.
This exhibition demonstrates the breadth of Berruguete’s practice, displaying six drawings (nearly half of all drawings confidently attributed to him), three paintings (including rare paintings from his Italian period), and twenty-four sculptures, including almost two dozen of the best examples from the retablo for the church of San Benito in Valladolid, which is widely considered the artist’s magnum opus. The Museo Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid, Spain, lends a substantial group of some of his very best figures. A section of one of his altarpieces is loosely reconstructed in the exhibition to convey an idea of how his sculptures were originally seen.
An introductory gallery featuring works by his father —an accomplished painter in his own right— and other Spanish artists of the era will provide a view of the artistic landscape in which Berruguete operated. In the Dallas venue, curated by the Meadows Museum’s Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Wendy Sepponen, this will also include selected works from the Meadows’s permanent collection that will put the artist into dialogue with his Spanish contemporaries.
A fully illustrated catalog accompanying the exhibition, sponsored by the Center for Spain in America/ Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, Madrid, will be the first general book on Berruguete published in English and will feature a preface by preeminent Spanish art historian Jonathan Brown, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts, New York University. Contributors to the publication include C.D. Dickerson III, curator and head of the department of sculpture and decorative arts, National Gallery of Art; Mark McDonald, curator of prints and drawings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Manuel Arias Martínez, head of collections and deputy director, Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid; Daphne Barbour, senior object conservator, National Gallery of Art; Richard Kagan, Academy Professor and Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor Emeritus of History, Johns Hopkins University; Wendy Sepponen, Mellon Curatorial Fellow 2018–2020, Meadows Museum; and Julia Vazquez, doctoral candidate in the department of art history and archaeology at Columbia University.