INTERNATIONAL LOAN EXHIBITION IN FALL 2013 TO EXPLORE INFLUENCE OF FLEMISH PAINTING ON ITALIAN RENAISSANCE
Rogier van der Weyden (Flemish, ca. 1400–1464). Left: Madonna and Child (ca. 1460). Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Right: Portrait of Philippe de Croÿ (ca. 1460). The Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp.
Sept. 14, 2012
SAN MARINO, Calif.—The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced today it is organizing “Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance Painting,” an exhibition of about 30 paintings and about 10 illuminated manuscripts drawn from The Huntington’s collections and those of several other institutions in the United States and Europe. The exhibition will be presented exclusively at The Huntington in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery, Sept. 28, 2013, through Jan. 13, 2014.
While many exhibitions have shed light on the beauty of Flemish 15th-century painting, and even more have celebrated the glory of Italian Renaissance painting, this will be the first in the United States to explore how Flemish painting helped make the innovative, sophisticated, and beautiful works of the Italian Renaissance possible. Masterworks by artists such as Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Pietro Perugino, and Domenico Ghirlandaio will be brought together to show the results of artistic contact between the two creative centers in Flanders (located in present day Belgium, France, and the Netherlands) and Florence.
“The Huntington houses several masterpieces of Renaissance painting,” said Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington. “It’s time they were displayed in a larger context like this—helping to shed light on the cultural, economic, and artistic links between these two profoundly important artistic centers in the second half of the 15th-century. We’re very excited to be able to organize this exhibition for Los Angeles audiences.”
“Face to Face” will mark the first time viewers in the Los Angeles area will be able to see The Huntington’s acclaimed Madonna and Child (ca. 1460) by Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden (ca. 1400–1464) with its companion diptych panel. Portrait of Philippe de Croÿ, on loan from the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, was originally the right half of a two-panel painting hinged to open and close like a book—a common format at the time that enabled the works to stand open on a table or altar. The paintings have been shown together publicly only three times since 1927: in London, Washington, D.C., and Leuven, Belgium.
The Huntington’s Portrait of a Man and Portrait of a Woman (ca. 1490) by Domenico Ghirlandaio (Italian, 1449–1494) also will be highlighted in the exhibition.
“Face to Face” is co-curated by Catherine Hess, chief curator of European art at The Huntington, and Paula Nuttall, author of From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500 (2004, Yale University Press), the only English-language monograph on the subject. Nuttall’s book reproduces many of the paintings that will be on view.
Bringing together works from Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others, “Face to Face” will juxtapose Flemish and Italian works in thematic groupings, exploring the form of the diptych, the depiction of the face of Christ, the evolution of portraiture, elements of landscape painting, and the virtuosic rendering of forms and textures.
In the late Middle Ages, Flanders was a wealthy country, ruled by the dukes of Burgundy. The combination of its affluence and the artistic inclinations of its rulers led to the flourishing of art and culture there. Florence also had a prosperous mercantile economy and was an important cultural center in the 15th-century. And, since the late Middle Ages, a colony of Florentine merchants and bankers had settled in Flanders to facilitate trade and promote banking. Through these commercial connections, Flemish painting became known in Florence, where it was celebrated for its emotional intensity and awe-inspiring realism. Even Michelangelo is recorded as saying that the painting of Flanders “will cause [the devout] to shed many tears” and “in Flanders they paint with a view to deceiving the eye.” By the end of the 15th-century, the lessons learned from Flemish painting had enriched and transformed the art of Florence.
“It’s positively thrilling to have this opportunity to bring recent scholarly research to the public in the form of an exhibition,” said Hess. “We are only now beginning to realize the full impact Netherlandish artists had on artists in Florence, and this display—grouping a top quality set of gorgeous examples in one space—really helps underscore that fact.”
[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution digital images available on request for publicity use.]
CONTACTS: Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, firstname.lastname@example.org
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About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org.
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