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Crocker Art Museum Presents Two Exhibitions Highlighting Italian Art

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Crocker Art Museum Presents Two Exhibitions Highlighting Italian Art
"Florence and the Baroque" on view November 5, 2011 through February 12, 2012 and
"The Art of Disegno" on view November 19, 2011 through January 12, 2012

May 3, 2011 – Sacramento, Calif. – The Crocker Art Museum will present two exhibitions this winter exploring Italian art from the 16th through the 18th centuries. The first exhibition, "Florence and the Baroque," offers an in-depth examination of the Baroque style in Florence, while the second exhibition, "The Art of Disegno," presents a wider survey of drawings and prints from throughout the Italian peninsula.

"The Crocker is an ideal venue for both exhibitions," said William Breazeale, the Crocker's curator of European art. "Together the shows expand knowledge of Italian art and provide a wider context for the Crocker's renowned collection of drawing, prints, and paintings."

"Florence and the Baroque: Paintings from the Haukohl Family Collection" will bring 14 masterworks of Italian paintings from the 16th through 18th centuries to Northern California. On view from November 5, 2011 through February 12, 2012, this exhibition is drawn from the largest private American collection of Florentine Baroque painting and features works by key artists such as Cesare Dandini, Jacopo da Empoli, and Francesco Furini.

In the late 16th century Florence was a hotbed of innovation. A new clarity in color, style, and subject began to replace the elegant virtuosity of earlier painting. A tiny 16th-century portrait attributed to Jacopo da Empoli epitomizes the new naturalism and clarity. By the mid-17th century, clear storytelling and emotion is seen in scenes from saints' lives, as in Felice Ficherelli's Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene. Later in the century, artists who conveyed heightened emotion used looser brushwork as in the turbulent Annunciation by Alessandro Gherardini.

The exhibition offers the unusal opportunity to examine an entire family of artists, the Dandini, who were prominent in Florence for over a century: Cesare and his brother Vincenzo, their nephew Pietro, and Pietro's son Ottaviano are seen here in mythologies, religious scenes, and allegories. The exhibition also provides insight into the history of framemaking.

"The Art of Disegno: Italian Prints and Drawings from the Georgia Museum of Art" will be on view from November 19, 2011 to January 12, 2012. The exhibition features 53 works on paper produced in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. These prints and drawings from the Georgia Museum of Art and the Giuliano Ceseri Collection provide rare insight into the training, working habits, and creative process of artists.

For Italian artists of this era, the art of drawing was regarded as an intellectual as well as a practical activity, and the images found in this exhibition represent examples of the most fertile and inspired artistic creations found on paper during this period.

Drawings also enjoyed a close relationship with prints during this period. For example, Giovanni Battista Piranesi's prints reveal a fantastical and visionary imagination. His works create an aura of mystery, not only because of the dramatic chiaroscuro, or contrast between light and dark, but also because of disappearing staircases, leaning ladders to nowhere and architectural elements that appear to have no real function.

The exhibition includes prints by some of the finest Italian printmakers, such as Parmigianino and Marcantonio Raimondi, and later examples by major figures such as Pietro Testa and Giovanni Battista Castiglione.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color, hardback exhibition catalogue, with an introduction by Giancarlo Fiorenza, former Pierre Daura Curator of European Art at the Georgia Museum of Art, and catalogue entries by exhibition curators Babette Bohn, professor of art history at Texas Christian University, and Robert Randolf Coleman, associate professor of art history at the University of Notre Dame.

The Crocker Art Museum was one of the first art museums in the U.S. and is now one of the leading art institutions in California. Established in 1885, the Museum features one of the country's finest collections of Californian art, exceptional holdings of master drawings, a comprehensive collection of international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Wednesday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Thursdays; 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday–Sunday. Every Third Sunday of the month is "Pay What You Wish Sunday" sponsored by Bank of America. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org.

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