MASTERS OF VENICE – Exhibition closes at the de Young Museum, 2/12

Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

For over three months the de Young has been home to the globally exclusive exhibition, Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power. It is a most rare and powerful gathering of art from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The exhibit closes on Sunday, February 12th. Click here to order tickets on-line: Masters of Venice

BORDONE. Allegory of Mars, Venus and Cupid. ca. 1560

VERONESE. Judith with the Head of Holofernes (ca. 1580)

There are fifty paintings in the exhibit, including works by Titian, Giorgione, Veronese, Mantegna, and Tintoretto. The collection represents the height of Venetian Renassaince painting. Loaned by the Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, these works are among the museum’s most celebrated holdings, collections built over centuries by the Habsburg royal family.

MANTEGNA. Detail, Saint Sebastian (1457–59)

Masters of Venice is the first exhibition of Italian art at FAMSF since the presentation of Treasures from the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in 1999–2000. The Museums’ history of showcasing masterworks from the Italian Renaissance dates back to 1938, when the Legion of Honor presented Venetian Paintings from the 15th Century Through the 18th Century, America’s first major exhibition of Venetian Renaissance paintings.

One of the singular movements in the evolution of Western Art, the Venetian Renaissance forged an artistic vocabulary that took full advantage of the poetic potential of rich atmospheric effects, lustrous color and the sensuous beauty observed in nature. Venetian painters of the cinquecento transcended the spatial, textural and respresentational realism of their predecessors to create works unsurpassed in their emotional and sensual depictions, velvety surfaces and glorious treatment of light.

Artists in this exhibition such as Giorgione, Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto were legends in their own time and their paintings were highly prized by discerning collectors across Europe. Works by painters such as Palma Vecchio, Bordone and Bassano demonstrate the full range of Venetian accomplishment in the Renaissance era.

TITIAN. Lucretia and Her Husband (ca. 1515)

The Gemädegalerie (Picture Gallery) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna holds one of the world’s most distinguished collections of Old Master paintings. Collected by the emperors and archdukes of the royal house of Habsburg, this collection is one of the world’s four princely collections that rival those in Paris (the Louvre), Saint Petersburg (the Hermitage) and Madrid (the Prado). The Kunsthistorisches Museum was conceived by Emperor Franz Joseph I to house the impressive art accumulated over the many centuries of Habsburg rule and opened on October 17, 1891.  Its collections include paintings, decorative arts, armor, Greco-Roman and Egyptian antiquities, coins and musical instruments.  Located on Vienna’s grand boulevard the Ringstrasse, near the Museum of Natural History, City Hall, Parliament, the former Imperial Theater and the Opera House, the Kunsthistoriches Museum’s architecture and interior decoration are as magnificent as its collections.

MASTERS OF VENICE – Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power

The exhibition catalogue for Masters of Venice, authored by director of the Germäldegalerie of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna Sylvia Ferino-Pagden and curator in change of European art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Lynn Federle Orr, features the achievements of Venetian painting through the world-renowned holdings of the Germäldegalerie of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum and others. Mantegna, Titian, and Giorgione are among the exemplary artists highlighted. Hardcover, 128 pages. Click on the photo to order on-line.


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