Monday, September 2, 2013



By Nancy Condit

Starting with the almost flat depiction of "St. Lawrence," c. 1370, by di Buonaccorso, tempera gold on panel, proceeding to Sandro Botticelli's "The Annunciation," c. 1490, oil, tempera and gold leaf on walnut panel, which shows one of the beginnings of perspective -- in this case mathematical perspective, the exhibition sweeps through to two Titians, apparently separated and now reunited by the museum, "Christ and the Adultress," c. 1508 and "Head of a Man," c. 1508, continuing through  the Baroque period, periods of high drama, mythology, landscapes, Italian unification, and ending with the almost contemporary "Overlooking a Canal, Venice," l886, oil on canvas by Luigi da Rios. The OKCMOA will hold a free admission day for the community in a Family Day on Sunday, September 8, sponsored by SONIC. Please see below.

"Of Heaven & Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums" is the current exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. "The Glasgow collection is one of the finest in Northern Europe," said president and CEO E. Michael Whittington.

 Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), "Christ and the Adulteress, ca. 1508-10, oil on canvas, 54 13/16 x 71 1/2 in (139.2 x l8l.7 cm), Glasgow Museums: Bequeathed by Archibald McLellan, l856, (181, c. CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection, Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts.

 Titian's "Christ and the Adulteress" is notable for the action of the full, rounded figures -- the baroqueness seen in a painting attributed to the high renaissance -- painted a hundred years before the baroque period.

Carlo Dolci, "Salome, ca. 1681-85, oil on canvas, 48 5/16 x 37 3/4 in. (122.7 x 95.8 cm), purchases by Glasgow Museums through JC Robinson, l883, (656), c. CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection, Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Dolci's depiction of "Salome" presenting the head of John the Baptist is a beautiful painting, except for the horrific subject. As the story goes she was asked by her mother to do this. " is possible to see her as an innocent pawn in the struggle of wills between Herod and Herodias," from the catalogue. Notice that Dolci downplays the violence, and provides his own view of the Biblical story, as Salome looks away as she presents the head, apparently taking no pleasure in her action.

The exhibition is also a chance to see how the collection was formed. In the catalogue by Peter Humphreys, placed around welcome seating throughout the gallery, he notes "McClellan shared a belief widespread in the early and mid Victorian period that the exposure of the working classes to art could have a direct and beneficial influence on the standards of their behaviour... such a collection should be designed along art-historical lines, to reflect the development of the different national schools of painting, and within Italy, of the different regional schools... The great majority of his Italian pictures are religious or mythological in content, and were clearly acquired in the spirit of an academic ideal." Humphreys also writes that McClellan does not let his being a Protestant, his compatriots being staunch Protestants, prevent him from buying pictures that displayed an "overtly Catholic religiosity... Similarly, the acquisition of overtly sensual pictures displays a broad-mindedness that is perhaps surprising for an early Victorian Pillar of his community." McClellan was a coachmaker who lived from 1797 to l854.

McClellan had bequeathed his collection to the city of Glasgow, with protesters because of some of the subject matter, and housing the pieces. Because expert witnesses spoke in favor of the exhibit, it was acquired by the city of Glasgow. Others continued to bequeath works to the museum, and the museum continued to buy works, including Titian's "Christ and the Adulteress."

Members of the Tulsa Opera perform Mozart's Non piu andrai from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Opening Night party. Baritone Tim Petty was accompanied by artistic director Kostis Protopapas. Photo by Nancy Condit.

  The Oklahoma City Museum of Art will open its doors to the entire community from 12-5 p.m. on Sunday, September 8, when SONIC presents Free Family Day.  Free Family Day Activities include:
  • Live Performances, featuring Tulsa Opera and OKC Improv
  • Hands-on art activities
  • Drawing in the galleries
  • Face painting
  • Story times
  • Family tours

The exhibit runs through November 17th, and then visits the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, Milwaukee Art Museum, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

The exhibit is organized by the American Federation of Arts and Glasgow Museums. The exhibition tour is supported by the JFW Foundation and the Donald and Maria Cos Charitable Fund. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. In-kind support is provided by Barbara and Richard S. Lane and Christie's.

No comments:

Post a Comment