Renaissance Painting in the Kress Gallery
THE KRESS C During the Great Depression, Samuel H. Kress, the owner of a chain of stores, began collecting large amounts of European works of art. He especially liked paintings by the Italian Renaissance masters. Do you collect anything? If so, what?
If you could buy any kind of art, what kind would it be? Why?
COLLECTION In the 1930s, Kress let some of his works travel in an exhibition that went to 50 cities in the United States. He loved sharing his art with the American people. In the 1950s he gave almost 1,000 paintings to museums and colleges all over the country. The Georgia Museum of Art was fortunate enough to receive 12 of these paintings, which are in this gallery today.
THE RENAISSANCE All of the paintings in this gallery are from a period called the Renaissance. The word “Renaissance” comes from an Italian word meaning “to be born again.” From the 14th to the 17th centuries, Europe experienced a revival of ancient Greek and Roman art. Artists during the Renaissance were limited in subjects they could paint. Painters would be commissioned, or hired, to paint something very specific. The only people wealthy enough to hire artists were the very rich and the Catholic Church, which is why so much of the art from this time has religious subjects.
Find the Portrait of Giulio Romano in the gallery.Â This painting was based on a similar painting by a famous artist named Titian. Do you get inspiration from other people? Who?
This type of painting is known as a portrait. Portraits are paintings of people.
The man in this portrait is Giulio Romano, an Italian painter and architect. What can you tell about Giulio from his portrait? If you were painting a portrait of Giulio would you include anything as a hint to where he was from or what his job was? If so, what? Portraits used to be reserved for only the wealthy and important people, but today they are used by everyone. You probably had your portrait done when you had your photo taken for your school yearbook!Â
Take a moment to draw a portrait of someone you came to the museum with, or sketch one of the portraits in the gallery. Be sure to pay special attention to the details!
MADONNA & CHILD Find Madonna and Child by Ambrogio Borgognone in the gallery. This painting has an unusually large amount of gold in it. The process of covering something in very thin sheets of gold is called gilding. The person that hired the artist to make this painting, the patron, probably asked the artist to include the gilding. Why do you think the patron would have wanted to include gold in this painting? This painting also features a technique called tooling. Tooling is done by pressing into the gold leaf to create patterns. In this painting the haloes on Mary and Jesus have been created by tooling. You can practice your own tooling techniques by using the dull pencil to press gently into a sheet of aluminum foil. Think carefully about what shapes you want to use in your design.
Find Madonna and Child with Saints by Simone dei Crocifissi in the gallery. This painting is a triptych. That means that it is made up of three separate panels. The two side panels fold in to protect the painting when it is not being used. Triptychs can be made in all sizes. Some are large and used in churches, while others are smaller, like this one, and could be carried on a trip. The images in triptychs are normally religious ones, with the most important person in the center panel. The other panels often show other people related to the person in the center. The people in the triptych are shown with objects that are important to them, known as attributes, which help us figure out who they are. For example, St. Paul often has a sword and book. What would your attribute be and why?
Draw a triptych of your own! Be sure to use what you have just learned about them.
Madonna & Child
Giusto de’ Menabuoi Find the panels from Giusto de’ Menabuoi’s altarpiece. The panels show different saints. Why do you think that certain saints were paired?
Think about the setting of these saints. Are they inside or outside? What about the paintings suggest this?
These panels are from a large altarpiece that originally included a scene of the Madonna and Child Enthroned and many other panels of saints. Scholars have imagined how the panels would have been arranged. How do you think they were arranged?
Image Credits 1. Tiziano Vicelli (after Titian), Portrait of Giulio Ro mano, n.d. Oil on canvas. 2. Ambrogio Borgognone, Madonna and Child, ca. 1490. Tempera on wood panel. 3. Simone dei Crocifissi, Madonna and Child with Saints, ca. 1370. Tempera on wood panels (triptych). 4. Giusto de’Menabuoi, St. Paul and St. Augustine, 1363. Tempera on wood. 5. Giusto de’Menabuoi, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. An thony Abbot, 1363. Tempera on wood. 6. Giusto de’Menabuoi, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. John the Baptist, 1363. Tempera on wood All included works of art are from the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia; The Samuel H. Kress Study Collection
This program is supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Georgia Museum of Art University of Georgia 90 Carlton Street Athens, Georgia 30602-6719 706.542.GMOA (4662) www.georgiamuseum.org
GMOA Logo - Wide This family guide was created by Christina Westpheling, intern in the department of education at the Georgia Museum of Art
This family guide to the Georgia Museum of Art's Kress Collection was produced with the support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.