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Philip IV, 1623-27. Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid; Portrait of King Philip IV, 1623-24. Oil on canvas, Meadows Museum.

With a wealth of world-class art venues in the area, it?s easy to forget about the Meadows Museum, located on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

Despite having one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, the museum keeps a low profile. Its latest offering, however--Diego Velázquez: The Early Court Portraits-- may change that in a royal way.

The landmark exhibition has landed in Dallas thanks to a partnership between the Meadows and Madrid?s Prado museum, and it explores the artist?s work as a court portraitist for King Philip IV, who was one of history?s most influential arts patrons and connoisseurs. The exhibition features two paintings from this period, one from the Meadows and one from the Prado?s collection (Portrait of King Philip IV and Philip IV, respectively) that are being united for the first time in 40 years.

Three other outstanding Velázquez portraits from other American institutions (Luis de Góngora y Argote from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Don Pedro de Barberana from the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth; and The Jester Calabazas from the Cleveland Museum of Art) are especially notable.

Augmented by 16 prints, the exhibit is this fall?s must-see blockbuster.

Gracias, indeed.

Meadows Museum, 5900 Bishop Blvd., Dallas; 214-768-2516 or smu.edu/meadowsmuseum

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