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The Metropolitan Museum Of Art In New York Will Present Five Masterpieces Of Victorian Art On Loan From The Ponce Museum Of Art

Frederic Leighton’s iconic Flaming JuneThe Flight of a Heretic, 1559 by John Everett Millais and edward Burne-Jones’ The Wild Rose Bush series will be presented from October 8, 2022 to February 2024.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will exhibit five of the most important paintings in the collection of the Museum of Art of Ponce, Puerto Rico, from October 8, 2022 to February 2024, both museums announced today. Loans include Flaming June (1895) by Frederic Leighton, an icon of Victorian painting; The Flight of a Heretic, 1559 (1857) by John Everett Millais and the three works comprising Sir Edward Burne-Jones‘ The Wild Rose Bush (all painted between 1871-73). Following a technical examination of Flaming June by curators, scientists and image specialists from the Met, the five works will be presented in the museum’s galleries dedicated to nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century European paintings and sculptures.

“These five works are some of the greatest examples of Victorian painting in the world. Few works rival the beauty of Leighton’s Flaming June or the impressive artistic prowess of Millais and Burne-Jones’ paintings,” said Max Hollein, Director Marina Kellen French of the Met. “We are thrilled to offer our visitors the unique opportunity to see these incredible works from the Ponce Museum of Art in a meaningful dialogue with the Met’s own collection. We extend our gratitude to our colleagues in Puerto Rico for their generosity and collaboration.”

“We are excited to collaborate with the Met as part of our efforts to share prestigious works from the Ponce Museum of Art while our main galleries remain closed due to necessary repairs following the devastating earthquakes of January 2020,” shared Cheryl Hartup, Director of the Ponce Museum of Art. “These five important paintings are part of Puerto Rico’s cultural heritage. In fact, Flaming June is one of the most beloved works of art on the island, and one of the most recognized and reproduced images of British art. We hope that the public will take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to see these works in New York.”

The selection of the pieces on loan was carried out with the aim of highlighting relationships between the works of the collections of the Ponce Museum of Art and those of the Met. Flaming June and the Wild Rose Bush series, for example, will be exhibited alongside works by Leighton and Burne-Jones at Gallery 800, a grand entrance to the other galleries of the time. Gallery 808, dedicated to nineteenth-century British painting, will house The Flight of a Heretic, 1559.

It should be noted that the presentation will bring together Flaming June and Lachrymae de Leighton (1894-95, The Met). These are two of Leighton’s last monumental oils, made during the same period and exhibited together for the first time in the artist’s studio in 1895. However, their formal and thematic connections have never been fully appreciated. Although the two works have been in several exhibitions together, this is the first time they will be shown side by side.

The small series of The Wild Rose Bush, which includes the works The Prince Enters the Forest, The King and His Court and Sleeping Beauty, will be presented alongside The Love Song (1868-77, The Met) by Burne-Jones, which was commissioned by the same patron, William Graham, whose romantic tastes profoundly shaped the artist’s style. This reunion can only happen at the Met, as the fragile condition of The Love Song has prevented it from traveling since 2006.

The escape of a heretic, 1559 will have as a counterpart Ferdinand attracted by Ariel (1848-49) of Millais, who is at the Met as part of a long-term loan, courtesy of a private collection. The presentation of two early works by Millais cannot be seen in any other museum outside the UK. It synthesizes the artistic development of Millais, the most gifted of all the Pre-Raphaelites, as his strict naturalism gave way to a widely attractive style.

In the weeks leading up to her public presentation, Flaming June will undergo a technical examination and analysis in the Met’s Paint Conservation and Scientific Research departments, using techniques including infrared reflectography, X-ray and macro-X-ray fluorescence. Painting has never before undergone such in-depth study, increasing the potential for discovering new insights into the development of Leighton’s composition.

This collaboration has been coordinated by Cheryl Hartup, Director of the Ponce Museum of Art, and Alison Hokanson, Associate Curator of European Paintings at the Met. The Flaming June technical examination will be conducted by Met staff members Charlotte Hale, Curator of Paintings; Silvia A. Centeno, Research Scientist; and Evan Read, Technical Documentation Manager, with the support of Lidia Aravena, Chief Curator of the Ponce Art Museum.

This collaboration will be accompanied by an academic study program.

About the Ponce Museum of Art The Ponce
Museum of Art has one of the most important collections of Victorian art outside the UK. Luis A. Ferré, the museum’s visionary founder, assembled an extraordinary and very personal collection of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art between 1959 and 1974 that has put Puerto Rico on the map of people interested in this topic. At the time, these works were old-fashioned, but Ferré’s strategy was to buy quality works, regardless of their popularity in the market, and rely on his eye and intuition. Today, the Museo de Arte de Ponce is internationally recognized as an art museum with an outstanding collection of Victorian paintings, a remarkable set of Baroque paintings, and extensive collections of Puerto Rican art from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. For more than six decades, the museum has excelled in the areas of research, conservation and education, connecting the community and its visitors to the arts.

About the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens, businessmen and financiers, as well as prominent artists and thinkers of the time, who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. Today, the Met displays tens of thousands of objects covering 5,000 years of art from around the world to may everyone experience and enjoy it. The Museum lives on two iconic New York City sites: The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also participate in the Met experience online. Since its founding, the Met has always aspired to be more than a treasure trove of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing new ideas and unexpected connections across time and between cultures.

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