European Splendors: Highlights from the Kress Collection
European Splendors offers a chance to re-experience the CMA’s Kress Collection — largely off view since 2017 — in a luxurious new way. Featuring an exciting arc of Italian art from the late medieval to the Baroque period shown alongside apothecary mortars and furniture pieces, this exhibition explores the renewed emphasis on the human condition and individualism within religious art and culminates in stunning examples of Dutch portraiture and still life. Italian landscapes by Bernardo Bellotto and Giovanni Paolo Pannini illustrate the impulse to bring a piece of history home from one’s Grand Tour as well as the 18th-century mania for Greco-Roman ruins.
The largest portion of Samuel H. Kress’ personal collection went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Thanks to a series of gifts from his foundation, the second largest repository came to the Columbia Museum of Art. Thirty of these European paintings, representing the 13th to the 18th centuries, are now on an extraordinary national tour aimed at making these art-historical treasures accessible to new audiences until they return home in 2024. This exhibition gives Midlands viewers an opportunity to see them in the midst of their travels.