During this holiday season, the Currier Museum of Art
welcomes visitors to view its new exhibition, Myth and Faith in Renaissance Florence. The Renaissance was a period when many artists frequently drew inspiration from their pre-Christian ancestors in the creation of their religious art and is recognized as a rebirth of ancient Greek and Roman culture in the service of the Christian Church.
The Curriers exhibition includes dozens of religious, mythological and secular pieces and is centered around a recently discovered masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, John the Baptist. The historically important work was created by Giovan Montorsoli, one of Michelangelos most gifted students. The exhibition is comprised of objects loaned from collections throughout the United States and Italy, which are on display together for the first and only time. For Florentines, John the Baptists life was an archetype to be imitated and his image was invoked as a civic symbol around which the city shaped its corporate identity. Within this Catholic environment, the exhibition explores an amazing paradox, a deliberate reference to the citys pagan history while still celebrating its Catholicism.
Many great Renaissance paintings and sculptures were commissioned by the Church, and yet subtle references to Florences pagan past are apparent at times, stated Kurt Sundstrom who curated the exhibition. The Currier Museum is grateful that during the holiday season, we are able to offer this stunning collection of pieces from a historical era that both celebrate Christianity and bring to life provocative contradictions of Renaissance culture.
Myth and Faith in Renaissance Florence examines the variety of symbolic roles played by John the Baptist, Florences patron saint, in the civic and spiritual lives of its citizens. Moreover, the art of ancient Rome shaped the development of art and culture during the Renaissance a theme explored through the Renaissance restorations of ancient sculpture.
The Myth and Faith exhibition will be on view throughout the holiday season.