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Syracuse University to present major Michelangelo exhibition in Syracuse and New York City in fall 2008; will include several works never before seen in United States
Syracuse University to present major Michelangelo exhibition in Syracuse and New York City in fall 2008; will include several works never before seen in United StatesJanuary 25, 2008Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
Syracuse University today announced that the SUArt Galleries in Syracuse and the Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at SU’s Joseph I. Lubin House in New York City will jointly present the exhibition “Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth” this coming fall. The exhibition will include more than a dozen original drawings and writings by the Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), some never before seen in the United States.
“Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth” is organized by Dottoressa Pina Ragionieri, guest curator and director of the Casa Buonarroti in Florence, Italy, in association with Gary Radke, scholarly advisor and professor of fine arts in The College of Arts and Sciences at SU, and Domenic Iacono, director of the SUArt Galleries and the Palitz Gallery. The show runs Aug. 12-Oct. 19 at the SUArt Galleries on the Syracuse University campus and Nov. 4, 2008-Jan. 4, 2009, at the Palitz Gallery, 11 E. 61st St., Manhattan.
Sculptor of the colossal statue “David” in Florence and painter of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and large fresco “The Last Judgment” at the Vatican, Michelangelo was also a renowned poet, patriot, architect, anatomist, military engineer and entrepreneur — a true Renaissance man. As such, the exhibition will explore multiple facets of Michelangelo’s life, art and reputation.
The exhibition will feature more than 25 works by Michelangelo and artists contemporary to him, including 14 original works by Michelangelo chosen to illustrate the broad range of his interests and creative activities. Figural studies associated with the Sistine Chapel and other paintings will appear along with original architectural plans and sketches of ancient Roman monuments. Printed books complement autograph examples of the artist’s poetry. Eight of the Michelangelo works in the exhibition (five drawings and three manuscript pages) have never been seen in the United States. Works by Leone Leoni, Marcello Venusti, Giorgio Ghisi and others are included in the exhibition to show the homage paid to the master during his lifetime.
“To bring the myth of Michelangelo across the Atlantic, together with the centuries-long memories of the Casa Buonarroti, is truly an emotional experience,” says guest curator Ragionieri. “But to speak to the citizens of Syracuse and New York City about a sublime protagonist of the Italian Renaissance by means of his life as a man and artist — as well as offer some of his splendid drawings for their admiration — is also a great responsibility. I am happy and proud to arrange this important rendezvous and hope to have found the appropriate way in this exhibition to communicate the superhuman dimension of Michelangelo’s creative adventure.”
By most accounts, there are fewer than a dozen drawings and no paintings or sculpture by Michelangelo in current American art collections. The drawings in the exhibition will, temporarily, more than double the number of Michelangelo works in the United States, presenting a unique opportunity for audiences who have never seen his original work. (At left: Study of a Gate (Porta Pia?), c. 1561)
“This exhibition provides a rare opportunity to explore the many sides of Michelangelo’s career. As such, it will educate students and the public alike to broaden their appreciation and understanding of this great Renaissance genius,” says Radke. “I constantly urge my students to study abroad, especially in Italy, because there is simply no substitute for seeing works of art firsthand. Now, countless members of the American public will be able to examine and appreciate Michelangelo’s drawings and writings right here in the United States. These works are rarely seen, even in Florence, because they need to be kept protected from the damaging effects of light.”
Educational programming, in the classroom and for the public, will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition on the SU campus. Leading American expert on Michelangelo William E. Wallace, Barbara Murphy Bryant Distinguished Professor of Art History at Washington University in St. Louis, will be the the Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities in The College of Arts and Sciences. His mid-September visit to SU will overlap with a Ray Smith Symposium on “Rethinking Michelangelo” sponsored by Arts and Sciences. Radke will teach an undergraduate course on Michelangelo and a graduate seminar on his graphic work during the fall semester.
Students in SU’s Goldring Arts Journalism Program will study and write about the exhibition from a variety of perspectives, including art history, cultural significance and how international exhibitions are organized by institutions. Additional programming will be organized in the coming months, to be announced at a later date.
“Syracuse University is especially thrilled to present this wealth of research on the genius Renaissance master and inventor Michelangelo both here in Syracuse and in New York City because of the engagement it will create between our university and the people within these communities,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “This exhibition is an example of how we further our commitment to Scholarship in Action by integrating discovery, learning and public engagement.”
“I feel very privileged to help bring these extraordinary works by Michelangelo to our galleries,” says Iacono. “Working with Pina and Gary to develop an exhibition that speaks to the intellect and artistic genius of Michelangelo, we hope to provide an educational atmosphere that serves as a catalyst between the works of art in the exhibition and the visitors who come to view it.”
Initial information on the exhibition and related programming is available online at http://michelangelo.syr.edu. Additional content will be added to the site in the months leading up to the exhibition’s public opening.
The SUArt Galleries enhances the cultural environment of Syracuse University and the Syracuse area through meaningful educational experiences and encounters with the University’s permanent collection and traveling exhibitions. It is the main campus venue for the visual arts and home of the University’s extensive permanent collection. Accessible though the Shaffer Art Building, the facility hosts a variety of temporary and permanent exhibitions in its nearly 10,000 square feet of exhibition space.
The Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at SU’s Joseph I. Lubin House in New York City is exhibition space overseen by the SUArt Galleries. Opened in 2003, the gallery is made possible through the support of SU alumna Louise Palitz and her husband Bernard. Throughout the year, the gallery presents a variety of notable exhibitions from the University’s collection and private and museum collections. The SUArt Galleries and the Palitz Gallery are members of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC) at SU.