Exhibition | Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 15, 2014

From the NMWA:

Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., 5 December 2014 — 12 April 2015

Curated by Timothy Verdon


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Madonna of the Goldfinch, ca. 1767–70 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Samuel H. Kress Collection #1943.4.40)

Appearing throughout the entire world, her image is immediately recognizable. In the history of Western art, she was one of the most popular subjects for centuries. Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea is a landmark exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), bringing together masterworks from major museums, churches and private collections in Europe and the United States. Iconic and devotional, but also laden with social and political meaning, the image of the Virgin Mary has influenced Western sensibility since the sixth century.

Picturing Mary examines how the image of Mary was portrayed by well-known Renaissance and Baroque artists, including Botticelli, Dürer, Michelangelo, Pontormo, Gentileschi and Sirani. More than 60 paintings, sculptures and textiles are on loan from the Vatican Museums, Musée du Louvre, Galleria degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and other public and private collections—many exhibited for the first time in the United States.

“Among the most important subjects in Western art for more than a millennium was a young woman: Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her name was given to cathedrals, her face imagined by painters and her feelings explored by poets,” said exhibition curator and Marian scholar Monsignor Timothy Verdon, director, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy. “This exhibition will explore the concept of womanhood as represented by the Virgin Mary, and the power her image has exerted through time, serving both sacred and social functions during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.”

Picturing Mary is the newest project in an ongoing program of major historical loan exhibitions organized by NMWA, including An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum (2003) and Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and other French National Collections (2012). In addition to illustrating the work of women artists, NMWA also presents exhibitions and programs about feminine identity and women’s broader contributions to culture. Picturing Mary extends, in particular, the humanist focus of Divine and Human: Women in Ancient Mexico and Peru, a large-scale exhibition organized by NMWA in 2006.

The full press release (16 July 2014) is available as a PDF file here»

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From ACC Distrbution:

Timothy Verdon, Melissa R. Katz, Amy Remensnyder, Miri Rubin, Kathryn Wat, Picturing Mary Woman, Mother, Idea (New York: Scala Arts Publishers, 2014), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-1857598957, $45 / £30.

9781857598957_p0_v2_s600Iconic and devotional, but also fraught with social and political significance, the image of the Virgin Mary has shaped Western art since the sixth century. Depictions of the Virgin Mary in art through the ages are examined from a unique combination of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and contemporary art-historical perspectives. The thought-provoking texts examine Mary’s image as an enthroned queen, a tender young mother and a pious woman, demonstrating how her personification of womanhood has resonated throughout history to the present day.

Timothy Verdon is director of Museo dell Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. Melissa R. Katz is Luther Gregg Sullivan Fellow in Art History, Wesleyan University. Amy Remensnyder is associate professor, Department of History at Brown University. Miri Rubin is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History, Queen Mary University of London. Kathryn Wat is Chief Curator,
National Museum of Women in the Arts.



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