Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Wonder! "Gods, Love, and War: Tapestries and Prints from the Collection" Carnegie Museum of Art through June 3rd

I found this exhibit to be, in a word, jaw-dropping. While the exhibit also contains wonderful drawings and prints by masters such as Durer and Bruegel, the tapestries are the star. They are wall size and stunning. I found myself briefly wishing that I was a small child. I think that the combo of the size of the works and the ability of a child to suspend reality for a bit would give a child a real "you are there" experience. I had some of that myself. You are there in front of a castle with the nobles ice skaing. There at Alexander the Greats triumphal entry into Babylon. There with the harvesters stomping on their grapes, and an ancient god in the sky in his chariot. Note: There are many mythological themes as kings liked comparing themselves to the ancients. The successful ancients, that is.

I am probably being too fussy, but the images I found on the web just didn't seem to do justice to the exhibit. So I did not post one here.

A description from the Carnegies web site reads:

The rooms of Renaissance castles in Northern Europe typically were lined with immense and colorful wall hangings often highlighted with threads of silk, silver, or gold. The ideas dramatized in these monumental pictures—religious, historical, or mythical—not only glorified their owners, but also reflected and reinforced the artistic, political, and social values of the age. This exhibition, highlighting a selection of tapestries and prints from Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection, explores the historical popularity of these engaging pictures in textile; the patrons, artists, and studios that created a taste for tapestries; and the thematic intersections between tapestry and print imagery, such as masterworks by Albrecht Dürer, Andrea Mantegna, and others.

I found this exhibit to be one of the best that I saw in 2009, and that is including two extensive trips to NYC. I am looking forward to seeing this again, hopefully several times, before it goes down in June 2010.

Tribune review and pictures here:

Pittsburgh Post Gazette review and pictures here:

Two other excellent exhibits currently at the Carnegie are Palm Springs Modern: Photographs by Julius Shulman and Forum 64: Cecil Balmond.

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