The High Museum of Art, in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), will present an exhibition of 25 masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance—12 paintings and 13 drawings—that will include two of the greatest paintings of the Italian Renaissance, Titian’s “Diana and Actaeon” and “Diana and Callisto” (1556–1559). The two monumental paintings have never before traveled to the United States. The exhibition will also include paintings by Tintoretto, Veronese and Lotto from the collection of the National Galleries. The High’s presentation of “Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland” launches a new collaboration between the High and NGS, with additional exhibitions currently under development.
“Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland,” co-organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will premiere at the High, where it will be on view from October 16, 2010, through January 2, 2011. It will then travel to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (February 5–May 1, 2011) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (May 21–August 14, 2011).
In addition to Titian’s “Diana” paintings, “Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting” will include 10 other paintings that illuminate the depth of the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection of Venetian Renaissance works. The paintings—among them Titian’s “Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and an Unidentified Male Saint” and “Venus Rising from the Sea,” Lorenzo Lotto’s “Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome, Peter, Francis and an Unidentified Female Saint,” Jacopo Tintoretto’s “Christ Carried to the Tomb” and Jacopo Bassano’s “Adoration of the Magi”—will be accompanied by 13 drawings by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and other Venetian Renaissance artists.
Originally commissioned by King Phillip II of Spain as part of a series of six paintings, Titian’s “Diana” paintings were acquired by the Duke of Orleans in the 18th century. The “Diana” paintings then entered the private Bridgewater Collection following the French Revolution and passed by descent to the 5th Earl of Ellesmere, who became the 6th Duke of Sutherland and placed the pair on long-term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland in 1945. In 2008 the National Galleries of Scotland, together with the National Gallery of London, were given the opportunity to acquire these works so that they may remain in a public collection in the United Kingdom. In less than five months, the National Galleries of Scotland and London secured the funds to acquire “Diana and Actaeon” for the nation. The painting will be shared by the two institutions. Currently the two institutions are in the midst of a campaign to acquire “Diana and Callisto,” to ensure that both of Titian’s “Diana” paintings remain in public collections in the U.K.
“For centuries, these paintings have mesmerized the public and influenced generations of artists. In the 65 years that the Titians have been on public display in Edinburgh, people have made pilgrimages to Scotland to see them and other works in the National Galleries’ exquisite Venetian collection. Now, the people of Atlanta and the southeast region as well as other parts of the U.S. can see these great works from the height of the Venetian Renaissance,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High Museum of Art. “With this exhibition, we hope to help raise awareness of how vital it is to keep masterpieces like these accessible to the public. It also continues our program of bringing great works of art from around the world to Atlanta and then to other cities across the U.S.”
“Diana and Actaeon” and “Diana and Callisto”
Titian painted both “Diana and Actaeon” and “Diana and Callisto” for King Philip II of Spain between 1556 and 1559, at the height of his career. Part of a series of six large mythological pictures made for the king, the “Diana” paintings accompanied the “Danaë” and “Venus and Adonis” (both at The Prado, Madrid), the “Perseus and Andromeda” (Wallace Collection, London) and the “Rape of Europa” (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston). The “Diana” paintings, completed when Titian was well into his sixties, are the penultimate works in the series of scenes from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” and represent the Venetian master’s accumulated skill and experience. Designed as a pair—a stream flows from one to the other—one painting tells the story of the goddess Diana as she learns that her handmaiden Callisto is pregnant by Jupiter, while the other depicts the moment Diana and her nymphs are caught bathing by the hunter Actaeon. The “Diana” paintings are richer in chromatic range and compositional complexity than their predecessors.
“These two paintings have long been recognized as among Titian’s very finest creations and as supreme masterpieces of Venetian Renaissance art,” commented John Leighton, Director of the National Galleries of Scotland. “Their ambitious scale, the masterful unity of color and subject matter, the art-historical significance and their excellent condition all contribute to the fame and reputation of these works.”
Titian (ca.1485/90–1576) was the greatest of all Venetian Renaissance artists. The technical wizardry, narrative skill and psychological insight he brought to his works have ensured they remain among the most highly prized of all Renaissance masterpieces. He was initially associated with the painter Giorgione, with whom he shared an interest in landscape settings for lyrical, secular and sacred scenes. Titian reached full artistic maturity with his commission for the altarpiece of the “Assumption of the Virgin” (The Frari, Venice; completed 1518). He worked with remarkable success on a wide variety of works—portraits, mythological scenes, allegories and altarpieces—and painted for the greatest patrons of his age, including Emperor Charles V (who knighted him in 1533) and King Philip II of Spain. He also worked for the leading families of Venice, Mantua, Ferrara, Urbino and Rome.
Exhibition Organization and Support
“Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland” is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in coordination with the National Galleries of Scotland. It will debut at the High from October, 16, 2010, through January 2, 2011. It will then travel to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (February 5–May 1, 2011) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (May 21–August 14, 2011). The exhibition is curated by David Brenneman, the High’s Director of Collection and Exhibitions and Frances B. Bunzl Family Curator of European Art. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue to be published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The National Galleries of Scotland
The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) looks after one of the world’s finest collections of Western art ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. These holdings include the National Collection of Scottish art, which is displayed in an international context. Every year the NGS welcome more than one million visitors from Scotland and the rest of the world to our various Galleries sited in Edinburgh. These include the National Gallery Complex, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Dean Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
The National Gallery Complex is one of Scotland’s top free visitor attractions and Edinburgh’s second most-visited attraction after the Castle. It is made up of three interconnected buildings, right in the heart of Edinburgh. The National Gallery of Scotland is home to a major part of Scotland’s sensational national collection of fine art; the Royal Scottish Academy Building is one of Europe’s premier venues for international exhibitions, and the Weston Link, which lies beneath the two buildings, connects them together with areas for shopping, learning, eating and drinking.
Home to Scotland’s outstanding national collection of modern and contemporary art, the Modern Art Galleries include the Gallery of Modern Art and the nearby Dean Gallery. The Gallery of Modern Art hosts special exhibitions and works from ca. 1900 to the present day, while the Dean Gallery exhibits works from its internationally renowned Dada and Surrealist collection alongside pieces by Eduardo Paolozzi as well as world-class exhibitions.
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery opened to the public in 1889 and is the first purpose-built portrait gallery in the world. It is currently in the middle of a transformational capital project to restore and reveal more of this magnificent building. It will reopen to the public at the end of 2011.
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High’s media arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005 the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visit www.High.org.
The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opening in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center, please visit www.woodruffcenter.org.
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