A special exhibition on the first floor of the Allentown Art Museum
explores the influence of global culture on American art through depictions of the Christian figure of the Virgin Mary. Evolution of the Spiritual: Europe to America runs now through March 29, 2020 in the Museums Kress Gallery.
This is the first in a series of American art exhibitions taking place through a multi-year partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, made possible by the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative. A joint program of Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art, the nationwide initiative expands access to outstanding works of American art. AAM was selected by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as one of eight partners working collaboratively to engage communities across Pennsylvania with American art.
We are so pleased to be partnering with the Philadelphia Museum of Artand this first exhibition is a dynamic one. These paintings are visually compelling, and the imagery and their histories point to cross-cultural connections and complexities that undergird much of what we consider American art, remarked Elaine Mehalakes, the Museums vice president of curatorial affairs and exhibition curator.
Visitors to AAM will be afforded a rare opportunity to engage with eight artworks depicting the Madonna that span time and place. Evolution of the Spiritual explores connections between European and American art, tracking the development and evolution of an iconic image. Assembled together are fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italian and German paintings from the Allentown Art Museums famed Kress Collection along with an early eighteenth-century Peruvian painting and an eighteenth-century Mexican painting from the Philadelphia Museum of Arts collection. This focused exhibition culminates in imagery that exemplifies the profound influence of global culture on the art of this country, including Marsden Hartleys striking ca. 1918 painting Blessing the Melon (The Indians Bring the Harvest to Christian Mary for Her Blessing), on view for a limited time from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.