Exhibition: ‘Picturing the Senses in European Art’

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 21, 2011

From the MFAH:

Picturing the Senses in European Art
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 10 April — 17 July 2011

Sebastiano Ceccarini, "Portrait of the Young Princes Marescotti of Parrano," 1745

Picturing the Senses in European Art, organized by the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, explores artists’ interest in evoking the five senses through both allegorical and realistic associations. The exhibition of 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century paintings and works on paper is drawn largely from the permanent collections of the Blaffer Foundation and the MFAH, and offers an opportunity to see some significant works that are not often on display while viewing others in a fresh context.

The theme of Picturing the Senses is simple and accessible, yet rooted in classical philosophy and art-historical tradition. “Picturing the Senses includes and reaches beyond the traditional scenes and cycles of the senses,” says Leslie Scattone, assistant curator of the Blaffer Foundation, “and covers a variety of subjects that evoke one or more of the senses. While all of the works are mediated through the sense of sight, many appeal to multiple senses, and the discovery of these can be an intriguing process.”

The five senses as a theme in art first emerged in the medieval period, when they were often associated with vice. During the 16th century, the senses began being treated as independent subjects, usually as allegories. A shift to more naturalistic depictions took place in the 17th century, paralleling intellectual developments of the time. (more…)