The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, October 3, 2022


Landmark exhibition explores images of Virgin Mary by renowned Renaissance and Baroque artists
Artemisia Gentileschi, Madonna and Child (Madonna col Bambino), 1609–10. Oil on canvas. 46 1/2 × 33 7/8 in. Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence; inv. 1890 no. 2129.



WASHINGTON, DC.- Appearing throughout the entire world, her image is immediately recognizable. In the history of Western art, she was one of the most popular subjects for centuries. On view Dec. 5, 2014–April 12, 2015, Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea, is a landmark exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, bringing together masterworks from major museums, churches and private collections in Europe and the United States. Iconic and devotional, but also laden with social and political meaning, the image of the Virgin Mary has influenced Western sensibility since the sixth century.

Picturing Mary examines how the image of Mary was portrayed by well-known Renaissance and Baroque artists, including Botticelli, Dürer, Michelangelo, Pontormo, Gentileschi and Sirani. More than 60 paintings, sculptures and textiles are on loan from the Vatican Museums, Musée du Louvre, Galleria degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and other public and private collections—many exhibited for the first time in the United States.

“Among the most important subjects in Western art for more than a millennium was a young woman: Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her name was given to cathedrals, her face imagined by painters and her feelings explored by poets,” said exhibition curator and Marian scholar Monsignor Timothy Verdon, director, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy. “This exhibition will explore the concept of womanhood as represented by the Virgin Mary, and the power her image has exerted through time, serving both sacred and social functions during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.”

Picturing Mary is the newest project in an ongoing program of major historical loan exhibitions organized by NMWA, including An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum (2003) and Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and other French National Collections (2012). In addition to illustrating the work of women artists, NMWA also presents exhibitions and programs about feminine identity and women’s broader contributions to culture. Picturing Mary extends, in particular, the humanist focus of Divine and Human: Women in Ancient Mexico and Peru, a large-scale exhibition organized by NMWA in 2006.

Picturing Mary offers insight into the manner in which both female and male artists conceptualized their images of Mary. The exhibition features the work of four women artists: Sofonisba Anguissola, Artemisia Gentileschi, Orsola Maddalena Caccia and Elisabetta Sirani.

“Although women artists during the Renaissance and Baroque periods were expected to focus on still life or portraiture, Picturing Mary demonstrates the intriguing ways in which women artists engaged with the narratives and symbolism that developed around the subject of Mary,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Both female and male artists contributed to the rich and varied visualization of Mary in these periods.”

In one of the earliest works in the exhibition, Puccio Capanna, a student of Giotto, depicted an enthroned Mary as Queen of Virgins. She is surrounded by female saints, a grouping that alludes to Mary’s position as a model of virtue and faith for all women. Early regal depictions of Mary prevailed until the concept of Mary as an approachable, empathetic persona began to take hold in medieval monastic communities.

Fra Filippo Lippi’s Madonna and Child (1466–69) was made for the influential Medici family, patrons of the arts who helped foster the Italian Renaissance. The artist’s image of Mary reveals wealthy Florentines’ desire for a Madonna who reflected their own lives: the Virgin is dressed in a rich brocade gown and a head scarf trimmed with gold and pearls. The mother and child’s touching cheek-to-cheek pose first appeared in Florentine sculptures of the same period.

Picturing Mary offers the first opportunity to see two mid-15th-century works by northern Italian artist Cosmè Tura side by side. A painting of the Madonna and Child on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and a related terracotta relief attributed to Tura from the Grimaldi Fava Collection in Italy both depict the Virgin with elongated fingers and a wide forehand. These deliberate distortions were meant to signify Mary’s spiritual intensity.

Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna and Child (1480–81) depicts Mary and Jesus in a domestic setting as Mary reads from a book of prayers. Her melancholy expression and the darkening sky beyond the window suggest Mary’s premonition of Christ’s death. Botticelli was favored by the leading aristocratic families of Florence and enjoyed the patronage of Pope Sixtus IV.

Considered the most important woman artist before the modern period, Gentileschi was the first woman to run a large studio with many assistants and was also the first woman follower of Caravaggio. Her life story has inspired a number of contemporary novels and films. Gentileschi’s Madonna and Child (1609– 10) depicts Mary as a nurturing peasant woman. With Jesus wrapped in a plain cloth and a barefooted Mary wearing simple, everyday clothes, Gentileschi presents a markedly humble conception of the Virgin.

Sirani’s Virgin and Child (1663), part of NMWA’s collection, portrays Mary not as a remote queen of heaven, but rather as a very real young Italian mother. She wears a turban favored by Bolognese peasant women and gazes adoringly at her plump baby. When Sirani died at 27, she had already produced two hundred paintings, drawings and etchings. She became famous for her ability to paint beautifully finished canvases so quickly that art lovers flocked to her studio to watch her work. Her portraits and mythological subjects, especially her images of the Holy Family and of the Virgin and Child, gained her international fame.

The Picturing Mary exhibition is curated by Monsignor Verdon, in consultation with Kathryn Wat, chief curator, NMWA; and facilitated by Hugh Dempsey, former director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, Washington, D.C.










Today's News

December 8, 2014

Musée d'Orsay announces campaign to restore Gustave Courbet's 'The Painter's Studio'

In a dramatic operation on the cliffs of the Judean Desert: Antiquities robbers caught red-handed

Exhibition organized by Artcurial in Milan presents ten iconic works by Marc Chagall

Exhibition of works sold by the Germans at the Lucerne auction in 1939 opens in Liege

Exhibition sheds new light on key moments in the history of impressionism

Forty-five outstanding American landscape paintings from the 19th century on view at LACMA

National Portrait Gallery announces major Audrey Hepburn photography exhibition in 2015

Princess Diana gowns go under hammer for a total of nearly half a million dollars

World's largest truffle sells for $61,250 at auction; Far less than the 1 million expected

Landmark exhibition explores images of Virgin Mary by renowned Renaissance and Baroque artists

Tiancheng sells magnificent natural jadeite pendent necklace and matching ring for US$11,800,000

Exhibition proposes new and inventive ways to address increasing inequality of urban development

Rarely-exhibited 18-century tapestries on view while Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art completes renovation

Clark Art Institute wins 2014 Apollo Award for Museum Opening of the Year

Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki unveils the latest epic work in his Reflection Model series

Bridgette Mayer Gallery opens new exhibition, 'Sirens,' a solo show by Stuart Netsky

Hans van der Meer creates a photographic record of the border area between Belgium and the Netherlands

Tightened, As If by Pliers: Group exhibition opens at the Knockdown Center in Queens

First Seattle Art Fair to feature approximately 40 leading local, regional, and international art galleries

Star-studded property on the auction block from Gregory Peck, Sammy Cahn & Michael Curtiz

Bonhams' Modern British, Irish and East Anglian Art Sale makes over £325,000

Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art explores the story of Vitra

First solo UK exhibition of Kikuji Kawada's 'The Last Cosmology' series on view at Michael Hoppen Gallery

Art Miami announces the launch of Art Miami New York to take place May 14-17, 2015




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful