The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Don Quijote exhibit at Meadows Museum

“Where one door closes, another opens.” These famous words from Miguel Cervantes’ celebrated novel “Don Quijote” were published 400 years ago. Speaking of opportunities, the Meadows Museum is providing SMU students with the opportunity to see a unique exhibit based on this famous literary work.

The current Meadows exhibition, “Weaving the Legend of Don Quijote,” celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first part of the novel by presenting a variety of art forms, namely tapestries, that depict scenes from the narrative.

The exhibition will be running from Sept. 15 to Nov. 13 at the Meadows Museum. The exhibition also features tours and theatrical readings from the novel, as well as lectures by SMU faculty.

Meadows Museum is the first and only U.S. stop for this exhibit, which was organized by the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad. The senior curator for Meadows, Salvador Salort, attributes this to the museum’s prestigious reputation.

“We have the most impressive collection of Spanish art outside of Spain,” he said, adding that the tapestries seem to be designed for Meadows. The huge tapestries, some as large as 13 x 17 feet, fit in the exhibition hall with just enough room to spare.

Though the exhibition displays antique books, paintings and even embroideries, the tapestry collection is the main focus. According to Salort, tapestry exhibitions are rare, and he can think of only one other in recent history. He said this exhibition is even more unique. This collection features 19 tapestries in all, 15 from the same series.

“This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Salort. “People are traveling all the way from Europe to see this.”

Each of the tapestries, which were designed to be displayed together, depicts a different chronological scene from “Don Quijote,” allowing the viewer to follow the story through the sequence.

The tapestries have their own story, as well. Marjorie Heck, a docent for the museum, said when King Phillip V first came to Spain from France, he did not know Spanish at all. In order to learn the language, he used “Don Quijote” in his studies. He then became such a fan of the novel that he commissioned the tapestries in this exhibit and even took some of them with him on his travels.

According to Heck, this exhibition, with its various art forms and elaborate tapestries, is a good illustration of how popular the novel was and still is today.

“The tapestries are extremely valuable,” said Heck. “One square yard could take as long as a month to finish, not to mention the price of the materials, which often included silk.”

As part of the tour, patrons will learn about the materials and efforts that went into the family business of creating tapestries. Patrons can also compare the Spanish tapestry style with that of several Flemish tapestries, which are also on display.

The tapestries were often copied from “cartoons” on paper. Though that paper was usually destroyed in the process, the museum was able to find one on canvas.

This, as well as paintings which inspired several tapestries, can be seen in the rear room of the exhibition. Another room boasts elaborate silk embroideries.

Salort hopes the combination of art displayed in this exhibition will draw people from many different fields of work and interest.

“It contains works that pertain to different disciplines of the university, and the novel itself is universal; entertaining yet full of issues that are ongoing today,” he said.

The Meadows museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of Thursday, when it is open until 8 p.m., and Sunday, when it is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $8 for visitors and free to SMU students with their student ID. For more information on this and other Meadows exhibitions, go to

More to Discover