Renaissance to Rococo: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

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When the Wadsworth Atheneum opened in 1844 as the first public gallery of fine arts in America, the highlights of the collection were works by contemporary American artists. However, gifts soon brought a number of old master paintings to the museum, and today perhaps the most famous aspect of its fine European painting collection is the concentration of Italian Baroque masterpieces. The museum's distinguished director in the 1930s and 1940s, Chick Austin, acquired notable examples by Strozzi, Luca Giordano, and the first authentic Caravaggio in an American museum. Today the Atheneum can present an exhibition beginning with such Renaissance masters as Piero di Cosimo and Sebastiano del Piombo, continuing with the finest examples of Baroque painting, and culminating in a blaze of rococo splendor with Tiepolo, Canaletto, Guardi, Melendez, Greuze, and Goya. This catalogue includes a history of the collection by Eric Zafran and entries on the individual paintings by distinguished scholars.

Author Biography: Eric Zafran is curator of European art at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

The exhibition opens at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, in January 2004 and travels to Fort Worth, Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Montreal, and New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Accompanying an exhibition traveling through January 2006 to art venues in Sarasota, FL; Forth Worth, TX; Omaha, NE; Nashville, TN; and Charlotte, NC, this magnificently illustrated catalog (featuring 80 color plates and 20 b&w illustrations) highlights 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century paintings comprising the Old Master collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum, America's first public gallery of fine arts, located in Hartford, CT. In his detailed essay, editor Zafran, curator of European art and sculpture at the Wadsworth Atheneum, discusses the history of the collection, including masterpieces by del Piombo, Caravaggio, Gentileschi, Rosa, Canaletto, Panini, Tiepolo, Goya, and many others. Written by six distinguished museum curators and art professionals, the footnoted, referenced, and signed entries discuss the work by Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, French, and English artists, placing an emphasis on Italian, Dutch, and French masterpieces of the 17th century. Sufficiently documented but not too scholarly, this beautiful book selectively celebrates a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. Strongly recommended for most art collections in academic and large public libraries. Cheryl Ann Lajos, Free Lib. of Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300102055
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/20/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 10.04 (w) x 11.94 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 7
Foreword 9
A Passion for Paintings: The Old Master Collection in the Wadsworth Atheneum 11
Catalogue: Italian School 40
Spanish School 96
Dutch and Flemish Schools 108
French School 134
English School 152
Notes 159
Bibliography 169
Index 177
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2008

    A reviewer

    In these pages you will find the portion of the famous and celebrated Wadsworth Atheneum Museum's collection that has been on tour across the United States. Each art piece is reproduced with outstanding quality and a brief biography of the artist along with a incredible analysis of the piece itself. If ever there was a period in the art world where subliminal items were included on the canvas, this was it. This guide will reveal all those nuances and allow the reader to perceive a new dimension to the artworks presented. These are just not 'pretty' works of art. In many cases there were powerful statements of the current events of the time. Most people could not read, but they could all understand the imagery that was presented.

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