The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Renaissance Italian life examined in Kimbell exhibit

By Francés Matteck/editor-in-chief

The Kimbell Art Museum will exhibit Art & Love in Renaissance Italy, a representation of key moments in the lives of Italian men and women during the Renaissance, through June 14.

The exhibit is a joint project between the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Kimbell. It is divided into three sections: Celebrating Betrothal, Marriage and Childbirth; From Cassone to Peosia: Paintings of Love and Marriage; and Profane Love.

The works demonstrate the importance of certain social customs and desired qualities in Italian culture during the Renaissance. For example, Lorenzo Lotto’s Portrait of Messer Marsilio Cassotti and His Wife, Faustina shows the significance of the placing of a ring in marriage. The bride and groom could perform the sacrament of marriage without an officiant simply by placing a ring on each other’s hands.

In the painting, the bride’s wedding dress was made from red cloth, which was often the color of bridal clothes.

The painting also shows a humorous side that still speaks through more than 400 years later. A playful cupid puns in the background by placing a wooden yoke, used to join two animals to work together, on the shoulders of the bride and groom, evoking images of the modern phrase “ball and chain.”

The exhibit also contains several pieces of jewelry, including the earliest known diamond ring. The groom’s family often gave jewelry to the bride as wedding gifts. Other examples of bride gifts included domestic tools she would use such as spindle whorls, used to spin yarn, and an engraved sewing needle case. The bride was expected to furnish the couple’s home with the contents of her dowry, which often included linens and furniture.

The ultimate goal of marriage was to produce a child, but it was dangerous as mothers and babies often died. Deschi da parto or painted wooden trays frequently commemorated a successful birth. They usually featured the family crest of the mother and father and a portrait of the baby. Several examples of these trays are available in the exhibit along with an intricately carved wooden cradle.

Profane Love has a warning posted for children about the graphic nature of most of the prints. Sexual scenes celebrate the physical, carnal pleasures of love. The church destroyed many of these prints, so only copies survive today. The only way prints might get by the church is if they were painted as a mythological scene, like Zeus with one of his many lovers.

The exhibit also featured items  used for decoration of the camera, or bedroom. Highlighting this section are enormous painted panels depicting scenes of myths or portraits of the married couple.

Art & Love in Renaissance Italy has only been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and after it leaves the Kimbell, there will not be another opportunity to view the exhibit.

The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Friday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Regular ticket price is $14, but a student discount is offered for $12 and half-price tickets are available all day Tuesday and 5-8 p.m. Friday.

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