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Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College to present Venetian Visions: Selections from the National Gallery, London

Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, The Virgin and the Child (from the National Gallery, London)

Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, The Virgin and the Child (from the National Gallery, London)

Thanks to the one-of-a-kind partnership with the National Gallery, London, Randolph College will open its newest exhibition at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Venetian Visions: Selections from the National Gallery, London.

The exhibition, which opens Nov. 6 and runs through March 31, 2016, features works on loan from the National Gallery, London, as well as works from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery. Venetian Visions explores the richness and variety of Venetian painting in the Renaissance by offering three themes for visitors to consider: friends and heroes; art, poetry, and the pastoral; and the Madonna and Child.

The opening reception will take place Nov. 6 from 5-8 p.m. and is open to the public.

The partnership with the National Gallery was developed in 2014 and is the first of its kind for any U.S. educational institution. In addition to the loan of works of art for the current exhibition, the collaboration includes annual visits and lectures on Randolph’s campus from high-level National Gallery staff members as well as a student internship (work placement) program for Randolph students at the London museum.

Featured in the exhibition will be David and Jonathan and The Virgin and Child by Cima da Conegliano as well as Homage to a Poet, a work by a follower of Giorgione. Cima’s David and Jonathan represents two heroes of the Israelites, but departs from the biblical narrative of their military exploits and seems instead to highlight their friendship. Cima’s other work in the exhibit, The Virgin and Child, illustrates how Venetian artists responded to the demands of changing tastes and different contexts in their representation of Mary and Jesus. Homage to a Poet, by a follower of Giorgione, intrigues us with its still – unidentified subject. It embodies the spirit of ancient poetry celebrating nature that was eagerly collected and emulated by Renaissance scholars, poets, and artists. It demonstrates the contribution of Venetian painters to the development of the pastoral, an important subject to European art and literature for subsequent centuries.

“The works were chosen with the intention of creating the widest possible appeal for the exhibition,” said Andrea Campbell, a Randolph art history professor and curator of Venetian Visions. “The exhibition will be modest in scale but will offer students and the Lynchburg community much to think about. Visitors to the exhibition will learn a lot about Venetian painting in the Renaissance, but it is my hope that instead of walking away with all the answers, visitors will instead be challenged by the works and continue to think about them. That is one of the great things about the opportunity to live with the works for five months; our relationship with the works, and what we think we know about them and about Renaissance painting in general, can change and grow.”

The loan from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery augments understanding of the three works from the National Gallery, London. The Virgin and Child Enthroned by Antonio Vivarini, an elaborately detailed altarpiece, will make an instructive comparison to the London Madonna and Child, allowing viewers to observe how Cima turned away from the traditions of gilded backgrounds and music-making angels and resolved the demand for greater naturalism in painting, while still portraying the mother and child as divine. Additionally, Vivarini’s The Virgin and Child Enthroned is not just any fifteenth-century comparable, but is a grandfather of sorts to Cima’s The Virgin and Child since Vivarini’s son, Alvise, may have been an early teacher of Cima.

The Maier will hold several events in conjunction with Venetian Visions including “Innovations of the Venetian Masters,” a public lecture presented by Campbell on Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. The lecture will address the meaning of the paintings and the legacy Venetian artists contributed to European painting. On Nov. 15 at 4 p.m., there will be a public screening of Frederick Wiseman’s documentary National Gallery, which takes the audience behind the scenes of the London institution, on a journey to the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century (180 min.).

The Maier is open Tues.-Sun. from 1 to 5 p.m. and admission is free. For more information visit the Maier Museum website at www.maiermuseum.org or contact them at (434) 947-8136 / museum@randolphcollege.edu.


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