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Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy at the Denver Art Museum
Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy invites visitors to explore more than 50 paintings, textiles and decorative arts that defined the style that became known as the Italian Renaissance. The artworks and sumptuously designed settings create a “passport to travel” to Italy during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Visitors have the chance to experience the distinctive creative contribution of each featured city to the birth of the Renaissance style.

Josse Lieferinxe, Abraham and the Three Angels, about 1495–1500. Oil paint on panel [Credit: Denver Art Museum/Samuel H. Kress Foundation]
Coming from the museum’s own collection and select loans, the exhibition is on view at the Denver Art Museum through July 31, 2011. Cities of Splendor is included in general museum admission.

“We want to transport our visitors to Renaissance Italy, where cities such as Florence, Venice and Milan played a major role in the development of a new artistic style,” said Angelica Daneo, associate curator of painting and sculpture at the DAM. “During the 1400s and 1500s, Italy was not a unified country, but rather a group of independent states with different characters and artistic backgrounds. The exhibition will show how local styles merged with the innovative ideas coming from Tuscany, resulting in unique artistic expressions and lasting examples of Renaissance art.”

Cities of Splendor guides visitors through Florence, Siena, Mantua, Venice and Milan and across the Italian Alps, enabling them to discover and enjoy the richness of the Italian Renaissance – such as the Florentine love for rational perspective and drawing, the Mantuan passion for classical antiquity and the Venetian taste for color and tonalities. The gallery is a fully immersive experience with Renaissance sights, fabrics and decorative elements.

“I hope our visitors will leave the exhibition with a deeper understanding of the complexity and variety of the Renaissance style,” said Daneo, who researched and wrote a full-color catalogue of the DAM Kress Collection for visitors to further delve into the scholarship behind Cities of Splendor.

Cities of Splendor is a celebration of the 50 years since the arrival of the Kress Collection at the DAM – a trove of paintings and sculptures gifted to the museum by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Thirty years after the gift of Defendente Ferrari’s Christ in the House of Martha and Mary Magdalene, the foundation donated 32 paintings and four sculptures to the DAM.

Samuel H. Kress collected artworks that were representative of various schools, regardless of the artist’s fame at the time. His thoughtful approach to collecting art resulted in a varied and comprehensive collection, one that conveys the development of European art throughout the centuries. He was a Founding Benefactor of the National Gallery of Art. During the mid-20th century, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation gifted hundreds of priceless artworks – many of them Italian Renaissance pieces – to museums across the country including the DAM.

“Cities of Splendor brings a fresh format to the presentation of Italian Renaissance art, taking visitors on a virtual tour of Italian cities to learn about their artists and contributions,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Combining creativity and scholarship, we are happy to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Kress Collection to the Denver Art Museum with this exhibition.”

Source: Art Daily [April 18, 2011]

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