British Masterpiece Presented to UAE
Dr. Al Suwaidi accepting the painting of Mary Magdalene from the British Ambassador on permanent loan in Abu Dhabi.
Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy
On 19 July 2019 the British Ambassador presented an 18th century masterpiece painting titled ‘Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy’ to Dr. Hamed bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arts Society at his home residence. This gift was a token of goodwill from the UK to the UAE as a symbol of the enduring friendship between the two countries in the Year of Tolerance 2019.
“From the Capital of Tolerance, we are truly honoured 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.”
-Dr. Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi
History of Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy Painting
‘Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy’ was painted in 1856 by artist Ary Scheffer. The painting illustrates a woman wearing a veil and clasping her hands together as in prayer. It was displayed in Manchester in the United Kingdom in 1857.
Purchased and kept in private collections until it appeared again in 1911 when it was auctioned at Christies Auction Rooms in London.
The painting disappeared once again until 1978, when it was obtained by the Lubin Family Private Collection in London. Prior to loaning the painting to Abu Dhabi, it has remained in the Lubin’s private collection. This painting, Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy, was one of the most famous paintings painted in 1856.
On 19 July 2019, the painting was presented to Dr. Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arts Society, at his residence 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, as a permanent loan to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
“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. 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.”
-Dr. Hamed Bin Mohmaed Khalifa Al Suwaidi
Chairman and Founder of the Abu Dhabi Arts Society