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For the first time, works from the Uffizi Gallery are shown at the Michener Art Museum
Consulting curator Diane Cole Ahl discusses two low-warp weaves by Nicola Karcher entitled "The Deposition from the Cross," left, and "The Resurrection" during a preview of "Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi Gallery" at the James A. Michener Museum, Friday, April 20, 2012, in Doylestown, Pa. The exhibit is scheduled to open Saturday. AP Photo/Matt Rourke.

DOYLESTOWN, PA.- For the first time ever, a selection of 44 paintings and tapestries from the famed Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, by such Renaissance and Baroque masters as Sandro Botticelli, Il Parmigianino, Lorenzo Monaco, Il Guercino and Cristofano Allori, have come to the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa. Organized by Contemporanea Progetti, Florence, Italy, Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi, is on view April 21, 2012 through August 10, 2012 at the Michener Art Museum in Bucks County, a suburb of Philadelphia.

"Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi brings to the Michener Art Museum and Southeastern Pennsylvania a wealth of tapestries and old master paintings that are rarely, if ever, seen in this region," says Michener Art Museum Director/CEO Bruce Katsiff. "We welcome the generosity of the Uffizi Gallery in allowing these treasures to travel here. The exhibition's impressive works of art reflect, in their fullest expression, the high points of artistic achievement of Western civilization."

The works from the Uffizi, which until this tour have never left Europe, embody the diversity, stylistic evolution, scale and technical mastery of art from Italy and Northern Europe over nearly 400 years, and represent a survey of European art at an important moment in its history.

This project represents a significant opportunity for the Michener Art Museum. Past focus has been on regional and changing exhibitions. The Uffizi show is the museum's first major traveling exhibition of European art for which the museum has appointed two consulting curators: Prof. Marcia Hall (Ph. D., Harvard) and Diane Cole Ahl (Ph.D., University of Virginia).

Among the exhibition’s paintings is Madonna and Child (ca. 1466-67) by Sandro Botticelli (circa 1445-1510), which reveals the spirit and lyricism for which the artist is best known. One of the earliest works is Lorenzo Monaco’s The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John and Mary Magdalene (ca. 1395-1400), with its pious figures and gilt background that are a hallmark of the Late Gothic style. Luca Giordano (1634-1705), a leading figure of the Late Baroque period in Italy, is represented by the moving Climb to Calvary (1685-1686), a large canvas that depicts an emotional encounter on Christ’s ascent to his crucifixion. A featured work is the recently-restored Madonna with Child and Saint Catherine, an oil on canvas from the Workshop of Titian (ca. 1550). These canvases has been installed in the company of three large and elaborate tapestries from the 16th century that depict scenes from the life of Christ, including The Last Supper, The Descent from the Cross and the Resurrection.

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world, with 1.6 million visitors a year. The structure was erected between 1560 and 1574 by Cosimo I de’ Medici and served as the judicial and government offices of the Tuscan state. Giorgio Vasari, a friend of Michelangelo who coined the term Renaissance, was its architect. The Uffizi Gallery officially opened to the public in 1765 and houses one of the greatest collections of paintings and tapestries in the world – many of which were originally commissioned or owned by members of the Medici family.

Named by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “top 28 places to see before you die,” the Uffizi has the largest collection of Botticellis in the world, including Birth of Venus, and Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation. Even those who have visited Florence numerous times may, in fact, be unfamiliar with the works assembled in Offering of the Angels. Many have not been on display to the public; the holdings of the Uffizi are so rich and so varied that even works of extraordinary merit sometimes have had to remain out of view, simply because of the lack of space in the galleries.

Il Pane degli Angeli (Offering of the Angels) was such an enormous success in Florence that the Uffizi’s curators decided to make it available to an international audience. The exhibition opened the following year in Spain; first in Madrid in 2008 and later, in Barcelona in 2009, where it was visited by a half million people.

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