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The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo

from Michelangelo to Tiepolo

Castiglione, The Crucifixion (detail), 1631–1670, oil paint on paper. ©The Trustees of the British Museum.

The New Mexico Museum of Art will host The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo on view January 25, 2020 through April 19, 2020. This traveling exhibition of more than fifty drawings and prints, organized by the British Museum from their extensive collection, tells the story of Italian art beginning with the Renaissance and ending in the mid-nineteenth century through an examination of how artists have depicted the saga of Christ.

With works from a variety of artists, including Michelangelo, Fra Bartolommeo, Parmigianino, and Fra Filippo Lippi, this exhibition surveys over 400 years of Italian art history. “It is a special treat to experience the work of Renaissance masters like Michelangelo that rarely make it to the States right here in Santa Fe,” says Christian Waguespack, curator of twentieth-century art at the New Mexico Museum of Art. “The opportunity to share these historic Italian treasures with our local audience,” he continues, “helps us fulfill part of the museum’s mission to bring the art of the world to New Mexico.”

The exhibition focuses on the three major stages of Christ’s journey: his birth, in the form of the Nativity; his Crucifixion; and the Resurrection, exploring the different ways that artists envisioned these moments. During the period covered by this exhibition, artists focused heavily on religious themes in their work. Patrons, such as the Catholic Church or private devotees, often prescribed the religious narratives for the paintings instead of the artists, but for artists reinterpreting conventional biblical stories was as innovative ways was to prove their skills.

“You certainly don’t need to be Catholic, religious, or spiritual to enjoy the artworks in this exhibition,” explains Waguespack. “These prints and drawings stand alone as testaments to human skill, artistic refinement, and imaginative innovations that have come to define the Italian Renaissance in the popular imagination. This exhibition is as much a story about art in Italy as it is the life of Christ.”

This selection of artworks, beginning around 1440 and ending in 1829, charts the evolving depictions of Christ’s story, while also providing a broad overview of the functional purposes, techniques, and major artistic trends of the era. This group of images also traces the role of prints and drawings,which served mainly as preparation for larger paintings or objects of personal devotion during this period.

The exhibition opening reception for The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo exhibition is free and open to the public on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 from 5 to 7 p.m.

There will be a lecture and catalog signing on The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo by Hugo Chapman, Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, Saturday, January 25, in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October; and closed Mondays from November through April. Admission is $7 for New Mexico residents, $12 for non-residents, and free for children 16 and under. The first Sunday of each month is free for New Mexico residents with ID. Wednesdays are free for New Mexico resident seniors (60+) with ID.

The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo will be on view through April 19, 2020

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