Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting
More than 130 paintings and historical objects are drawn from three of the family’s most spectacular palaces in Madrid, Seville, and Salamanca.
For more than 500 years, the Alba family has formed part of the most important aristocratic lineages in Europe. In celebration of the Meadows Museum’s 50th anniversary, they are graciously allowing more than 130 works from their private collection to leave Spain for the very first time. This exhibition presents paintings by masters such as Titian, Goya, Rubens, Rembrandt, Ingres, and Renoir; 16th-century tapestries by Willem de Pannemaker; decorative arts from the court of Emperor Napoleon III; illuminated manuscripts; miniatures; antiquities; prints; sculpture; drawings; the first bible translated from Hebrew into Spanish; and historic documents such as the papers of Christopher Columbus.
About the exhibition
Treasures from the House of Alba will be organized according to seven periods of Alba family history, collecting, and patronage from the 15th to the 20th century. The exhibition begins with the dynasty’s origins in the mid-15th century and rising influence under the 3rd Duke of Alba, Don Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, a prominent courtier in the service of the Spanish monarchy in the 16th century. This will be followed by an exploration of the family’s close ties to the Marquis of Carpio, Europe’s greatest art collector of the 17th century, from whom the Duchy of Alba received important holdings of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and to the Duques of Veragua, from whom came the Christopher Columbus documents. The exhibition will also present a section devoted to Goya and his relationship with the Duchess Doña Teresa Cayetana, and will conclude with the extensive collecting activity of the current Duchess and her father since the beginni ng of the 20th century, which includes the acquisition of works by such artists as Peter Paul Rubens, Joshua Reynolds, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pablo Picasso, among others.
Treasures from the House of Alba will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, which will include in-depth information about the collection and its history, and will lay groundwork for future research on the works included in the exhibition, as well as the collection as a whole. The catalogue will be edited by Fernando Checa Cremades and will include studies of the Alba family’s three main palaces, as well as new photography of the buildings and their current décor and gardens.