Of Heaven and Earth:
500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums
October 2, 2014January 4, 2015 Milwaukee Art Museum

Bellini. Botticelli. Titian. Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums celebrates the richness of Italy’s artistic legacy. It features religious paintings of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, along with secular Neoclassical and genre paintings of the nineteenth century—with the principal artistic centers, such as Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Rome, and Venice, represented. Milwaukee is the only Midwest stop on the tour of this rare exhibition.

Opening with some of the earliest and most refined examples of Italian painting, including Sandro Botticelli’s stunning Annunciation, the exhibition unfolds chronologically. The High Renaissance is next, with its emphasis on naturalism and rationality, the most familiar qualities of Italian painting. This section contains rare early work by Titian. Subsequently, visitors will experience the dramatic Baroque era, in which a premium was placed on communicating deep, often religious feeling through engaging and visually dynamic paintings. Highlights include works by Domenichino, Antiveduto Gramatica, and Salvator Rosa. The fourth section covers the increasing rise of secular painting in the eighteenth century, and Francesco Guardi represents this best: his exquisite Venetian cityscape beautifully captures the atmosphere, light, and essence of that remarkable city. Lastly, the degree to which Italian artists remained engaged with the latest avant-garde developments in European art is emphasized. Antonio Mancini’s strikingly modern painting, for example, betrays the unmistakable influence of Manet.

Of Heaven and Earth provides an exquisite and culturally complex view of the visual arts in Italy, and is an extraordinary opportunity to see the riches of Glasgow’s outstanding collection.