Organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA), this unique exhibition explores the evolution of Italian art and reflects the outstanding quality and remarkable 500-year range—from the late 14th to the 19th centuries—of the Glasgow Museums’ Italian holdings. Included are works by Italian Renaissance and Baroque masters, such as Giovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, Domenichino, Francesco Guardi, Salvator Rosa, Luca Signorelli, and Titian, many of which have never before been exhibited outside Glasgow. Several have been newly restored for the exhibition, among them, the southern Italian Adoration of the Magi by the unknown artist known as the Master of the Glasgow Adoration. This stunning early Renaissance masterpiece believed to have been part of a larger altarpiece was almost black with atmospheric pollution before conservation.
The character of Glasgow’s Italian collection was largely determined by the tastes of Archibald McLellan (1797–1854), a discriminating collector who spent much of his wealth on art and bequeathed his extensive collection to the city. McLellan acquired representative examples of all the main schools of Italy and in all the main periods of development. Most are religious or mythological and were acquired in the spirit of an academic and moral ideal rather than for any personal reasons.
Botticelli, Titian, and Beyond: Masterpieces of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums is organized by the American Federation of Arts and Glasgow Museums. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. This exhibition tour is generously supported by d’Amico Società di Navigazione, the JFM Foundation and Mrs. Donald M. Cox. In-kind support is provided by Barbara and Richard S. Lane and Christie’s.
The exhibition in Santa Barbara is generously supported by the SBMA Women’s Board, Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Willfong Family Trust, in memory of Don and Alice Willfong, Robert and Christine Emmons, Susan D. Bowey, Judith Hopkinson, Starr Siegele and Larry J. Feinberg, the Italian Cultural Institute, under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles and the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC, Jane and Ken Anderson, Robin and Dan Cerf, the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc., and an anonymous donor. This project is funded in part by the Events and Festivals Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.
This installation reflects two centuries of artistic dialogue between Italian and Northern European artists. Home to classical Greek and Roman sculpture and architecture, Italy was also a destination for ambitious painters from Northern Europe. Study in Italy’s major art centers has long been a prerequisite for any aspiring artist in the Western tradition. Among the artists featured is leading Flemish landscape painter Matthijs Bril the Younger, whose drawings of ancient ruins and landscapes served as models for other Northern European artists. The presentation also includes works by the foremost mural painter of 18th-century Europe, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo from Venice, whose drawings and etchings resonate with assured, virtuosic strokes.
László (or Ladislaus) Moholy-Nagy, Composition, n.d. (ca. 1922-23). Paper collage on paper. SBMA, Gift of Mrs. Charlotte Mack.
The Paintings of Moholy-Nagy: The Shape of Things to Come July 5 – September 27, 2015
This represents the first exhibition that explores how the practice of painting served as the means for László Moholy-Nagy to imagine generative relationships between art and technology. Featuring a suite of paintings executed on traditional supports, as well as on new industrial materials like plastics and aluminum, this presentation highlights how Moholy’s deployment of painting served to synthesize the inter-medial practice for which the artist has become so renowned. Organized chronologically and thematically, this exhibition shows the evolution of Moholy’s thought and practice over his career but attends especially to the profound political and technological impact World War II had on him.
It is undeniable that Moholy made numerous declarations about the end of painting especially at the end of the 1920s. He demanded that artistic production reach beyond the confines of the walls of a bourgeois salon, museum or gallery. He advised artists to exchange brush, pigment, and canvas with camera, television, and searchlight. However, even as he made these radical claims, Moholy returned time and again to painting. In the early ‘20s, he painted a number of works against black grounds, some on highly-polished black wood panels, others on canvas, thickly varnished to mimic the qualities of industrial plastics he began working with at the Bauhaus in the metal workshop. He also experimented with materials developed specifically for aeronautics, with aluminum and later with clear, lightweight, increasingly shatterproof thermoplastics in the thirties and forties. These works in plastic stand at the interstices of his many artistic practices, mobilizing techniques and organizing principles drawn from printmaking, film, photography, sculpture, and crucially painting.