The painting Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy, by Ary Scheffer painted in 1856 and from the Lubin Family Private Collection was presented on Thursday by Patrick Moody, British Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the British Government and the Lubin Family and Five Islands Capital Limited of London, to Dr. Hamed bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arts Society, as a Loan in Perpetuity to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
It was presented as a token of goodwill and a symbol of the enduring friendship between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom in this Year of Tolerance 2019.
It is a gift in return for the kindness and welcome made by new friends in the UAE to the Lubin Family and their associates.
Dr. Hamed Al Suwaidi said: “From the Capital of Tolerance, We are truly honored and humbled to receive such a significant gift from the Lubin Family on behalf of the United Kingdom. I believe literary and cultural partnerships are crucial to building bridges of understanding between peoples from around the world. This exceptional piece by a master artist of his era serves as a testament to the friendship between our countries and furthers our understanding of European historical subjects and beliefs. It can also act as an agent of soft diplomacy and makes this world a better place.”
He added: “On behalf of the Blessed Emirate of Abu Dhabi and its People, we extend our sincerest gratitude to Alan Lubin, the FinTech Company Five Islands Capital and the United Kingdom for this magnificent gift. This is a truly valuable demonstration of our cultural affinity and of the respect for eternal human values that both our countries emphasize and deliver. This endowment embodies the true spirit of generosity and togetherness in the Year of Tolerance.”
“We in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are very grateful that Alan Lubin, the FinTech company Five islands and the United Kingdom have chosen to gift us this magnificent, historical gift, that we will surely cherish,” he added.
Patrick Moody said: “I am delighted at this wonderful and generous loan from the Lubin family to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It symbolises both our rich history of cultural exchange and the bright future of UK companies engaging with the UAE on FinTech.”
Nicholas Lubin, Dexapoint DWC-LLC, said: “As a symbol of my family’s deep appreciation and as a token of goodwill and enduring friendship between the UAE and the United Kingdom, it is with a great pleasure and with immense gratification that we present “The Magdalene” as a Loan in Perpetuity to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”
Richard S. Oliver, CEO of OBE, said: “We are proud as a British company with deep roots to be pioneering market-leading technology in three continents. As so often before, the UAE has positioned itself as the Regional Leader in this field. Blockchain is FinTech’s Internet moment and it will soon be as much a part of our global and security infrastructure as Buckingham Palace is part of London.”
The Master Artist, Ary Scheffer (10 February 1795 – 15 June 1858) was born in Dordrecht, Holland. He moved with his brothers and widowed mother to Paris as a young boy. He became a “Romantics” painter, and was a member of the influential Salon de Paris. He was known mostly for his works based on literature, with paintings based on the works of Dante, Goethe, and Lord Byron, as well as Biblical subjects. He was also a prolific painter of portraits of famous and influential people in his lifetime. Politically, Scheffer had strong ties to King Louis Philippe I, having been employed as a teacher of the latter’s children, which allowed him to live a life of luxury for many years until the French Revolution of 1848.
Scheffer often painted subjects from literature, and two versions of Dante and Beatrice have been preserved at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in the United Kingdom, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the United States. Particularly highly praised was his Francesca da Rimini, painted in 1836, which illustrates a scene from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.
Scheffer was also an accomplished portrait painter, finishing 500 portraits in total. His subjects included composers Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, the Marquis de la Fayette, Pierre-Jean de Béranger, Alphonse de Lamartine, Charles Dickens, The Duchesse de Broglie, Talleyrand and Queen Marie Amélie.
Scheffer has works displayed in most of the world’s major art galleries, including The Louvre in Paris, The National Portrait Gallery in London (of which Dr Al Suwaidi is a Patron), The Palace of Versailles, Amsterdam Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Wallace Collection in London, the National Museum of Western Art Tokyo, Manchester, The Rijksmseum Muzeum Narodowe in Warsaw, Yale University, The Smithsonian and many others.
In the last decade of his life, Scheffer painted a number of paintings with a religious theme most notably the Saints Augustine and Monica (National Portrait Gallery, London), The Return of the Prodigal Son (The Wallace Collection, London), Mary Magdalene at the Foot of the Cross (Amsterdam Museum), Margaret at the Fountain (The Wallace Collection, London) and Christ Weeping over Jerusalem (The V & A, London).
This painting Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy was one of these most famous paintings, painted in 1856. It comes from the Lubin Family Private Collection.