Art Through the Ages: Masterpieces of Painting
from Titian to Picasso
The second exhibition from the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, showed 40 masterpieces of painting which emphasized both originality and complementary nature of these three world-famous collections.
The exhibition introduced canvases created from the 15th to the 20th century, including works by Titian, Lorenzo Lotto, Nicolas Poussin, Anthony van Dyck, Joshua Reynolds, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian and Willem De Kooning.
The show followed the chronological principle, spanning six centuries. It was opened by van Eyck's Portrait of Jan de Leeuw (1436) from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, reflecting significant innovations in the 15th-century portrait painting. Of great interest were the canvases of the 16th-century masters, including Titian's Lucretia and Her Husband Lucius Tarquinius (1515) and Christ Carrying the Cross (1560) and Tintoretto's The Flagellation of Christ (1585-1590).
The 17th century was represented by Nicolas Poussin's The Victory of Joshua over the Amelekites (1625) and Claude Lorrain's Morning in the Harbour (late 1630s), wonderful specimens of French Classicism with its aesthetic ideals and emphasis on form, proportion and restrained emotions. The canvases of Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Zurbaran and Bartolomé Murillo (St Michael, 1666) illustrated the more sensual style of Spanish artists during Spain's Golden Age.
Dutch painting was epitomized by Teniers the Younger's Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in His Gallery at Brussels (1651) portraying one of the Netherlands' greatest collectors. Baroque portraits of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck highlighted the Flemish school of painting.
Among the18th-century paintings were Antoine Watteau's Holy Family (Rest on the Flight to Egypt, 1719), which belongs to a few rare depictions of religious themes by this artist, and Joshua Reynolds's Cupid Unbinding Venus's Girdle (1788) from the Hermitage.
The 19th century was illustrated by Eugene Delacroix's Lion Hunting in Morocco (1854) and Camille Corot's Pond in the Forest (1870), full of subtle lyricism and harmony. Of special interest were Claude Monet's Haystack at Giverny (1886), a prime example of Impressionism, and works by Vincent Van Gogh (Mountains at Saint-Remy, 1889) and Paul Cézanne.
Early Modernist section included Pablo Picasso's Woman Ironing
(1904), Marc Chagall's Paris Through the Window (1913) and paintings
by Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger and Kasimir Malevich. Late
Modernism was represented by Joan Mirò's Landscape (1927)
and Piet Mondrian's Composition No. 1 (1930). American Abstract
Expressionism was highlighted in the exhibition by paintings by Jackson
Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem De Kooning.
An illustrated catalogue of the exhibition with articles of the three partner museums' curators of this unique project was published.