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  cover story - october 2014

Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates
500 years of Italian painting

THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM welcomes some of the biggest names in European art with the exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums.

Of Heaven and Earth, on view in Milwaukee Oct. 2-Jan. 4, 2015, is organized by the American Federation of Arts and Glasgow Museums. Milwaukee is the only Midwest stop on the tour of this rare exhibition.

Displayed in five chronological sections, Of Heaven and Earth includes paintings originating from the principal artistic centers of Italy – Rome, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Siena, Naples and Venice – and will present the works of artists such as Giovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, Domenichino, Francesco Guardi, Salvator Rosa and Titian, alongside those of lesser-known masters.

The exhibition opens with some of the earliest and most refined examples of Italian painting, including Botticelli’s stunning Annunciation. 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.

The fourth section covers the increasing rise of secular painting in the eighteenth century. 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. Mancini’s strikingly modern painting, for example, betrays the unmistakable influence of Manet.

“With works by some of the most significant European masters like Giovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, and Titian, Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums will examine the thematic and stylistic developments in Italian art – from the religious paintings of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance to the secular neoclassical and genre paintings of the nineteenth century,” said Daniel Keegan, director of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

“The remarkable regional and historical breadth of the exhibition will also showcase the outstanding quality of Glasgow Museums’ collection.”

Tanya Paul, Isabel and Alfred Bader Curator of European Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum, added, “This sumptuous exhibition presents the works of famous artists that even some art historians wait a lifetime to see. Most of the paintings have never traveled to America before, and many have been conserved specifically for this presentation.”

Special Gallery Talks and Express Talks are scheduled during the exhibition’s run. For more information, visit

The Museum, 700 N. Art Museum Dr., is located downtown on the Lake Michigan lakefront and is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults; $12 for students, seniors, and active military; and free for members and for children age 12 and under. Feature exhibitions are included in the price of admission. The first Thursday of each month is Target Free First Thursday and admission is free for individuals (does not apply to groups).

Beginning in fall 2014, the Museum began an ambitious project to renovate its two oldest buildings, the Eero Saarinen–designed War Memorial Center (1957) and the David Kahler–designed addition (1975), which house the Museum’s Collection Galleries. Increased gallery space, including an entire floor dedicated to photography and new media, an improved gallery layout, and a new lakeside entrance are among the improvements planned. The collections will be off view through fall 2015; however, the Museum is open throughout construction, with a vibrant schedule of exciting exhibitions, educational offerings, and special programs in the Quadracci Pavilion. For more information, visit

TOP Vincenzo Camuccini, Death of Julius Caesar, ca. 1825–29 (detail). Glasgow Museums; Bequeathed by Mrs. Cecilia Douglas of Orbiston, 1862 (318). CENTER Carlo Dolci, Salome, ca. 1681–85 (detail). Purchased by Glasgow Museums through JC Robinson, 1883 (656). BOTTOM Andrea Casali, Triumph of Galatea, ca. 1740–65 (detail). Bequeathed by Archibald McLellan, 1856 (195). ALL IMAGES © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection. Courtesy American Federation of Arts.




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