It has been described as ‘the finest civic collection in the UK’ and there are less than four weeks to see masterpieces from Glasgow’s collection of Italian paintings before they embark on a three year tour to England and North America. Essence of Beauty: 500 years of Italian Art at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum runs until 12 August 2012. Several works by some of the great names of Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting including Bellini, Titian, Rosa and Botticelli are included.
The exhibition is a unique exploration of five centuries of Italian art held in Glasgow’s collection. Essence of Beauty: 500 years of Italian Art features masterpieces from the late fourteenth century onwards and also includes decorative art, armour, sculpture, Venetian glass and rare ceramics to give visitors an opportunity to understand the range of objects being created during the period and provide further social and political context for the paintings.
The paintings from the exhibition will go to Compton Verney in Warwickshire from 23 March to 23 June 2013 where it will be titled The Splendour of Italian Art 1400-1900.
Under the auspices of the American Federation of Arts in New York, an exhibition of the paintings, titled Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums, will travel to six North American venues, opening at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art on 22 August 2013. The exhibition then heads for the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada where it opens on 13 December 2013 before heading to the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, where it opens on 17 April 2014. It then heads for the Milwaukee Art Museum on 1 October 2014 before the Santa Barbara Museum of Art on 6 February 2015. An accompanying catalogue will be available at each of the venues.
A sixth venue on the North American tour has still to be announced by the American Federation of Arts. This final venue hosts the exhibition from June to September 2015.
The southern Italian Adoration of the Magi, Bellini’s Madonna and Child and Sandro Botticelli’s The Annunciation are among the Glasgow treasures included.
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “Essence of Beauty: 500 years of Italian Art has once again shown the depth of Glasgow’s Collection and highlighted the treasures the city is proud to own. This extensive tour will bring our city, our museums and this unrivalled civic collection to new and appreciative audiences.”
Dr Steven Parissien, Director, Compton Verney said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Glasgow Museums as the only other UK venue for this spectacular and important exhibition. To be able to show a range of works of such quality and breadth is a rare and special opportunity for our audiences and will add a fresh new dimension to Compton Verney’s own significant collection of Neapolitan paintings.”
American Federation of Arts Director Pauline Willis said; “The AFA is thrilled to be collaborating with Glasgow Museums to organize this exhibition of sumptuous works by some of the greatest Italian artists of the past 500 years and to bring it to an American audience."