February 14-April 19, 2009
Sarasota, FL----January 5, 2009 – The vibrant and picturesque culture of Renaissance will be featured in the Triumph of Marriage: Painted Cassoni of the Renaissance exhibition at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing February 14 -April 19, 2009. The exhibition consists of panel paintings which once belonged on cassoni, Italian for “large chests,” made to celebrate marriages in Renaissance Tuscany. The Ringling Museum co-organized the exhibition with the prestigious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. An illustrated co-catalogue authored by the Gardner Museum and the Ringling Museum will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition was on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Oct. 16, 2008-Jan. 18, 2009.
“This exhibition is a great example of how the Ringling’s collection of Renaissance art can be enhanced through collaborations with other prestigious institutions,” said Dr. John Wetenhall, Executive Director of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “The exhibition gives recognition to this important aspect of Italian Renaissance culture and highlights exceptional Renaissance paintings.”
In Renaissance Italy, the joining of wealthy families through marriage was celebrated with elaborate processions that accompanied a bride to the home of her new husband. Richly painted marriage chests, called cassoni in Italian, were made in pairs and paraded through the streets to celebrate weddings. Such marriage processions displayed a family’s power and also echoed the triumphant victories of ancient Rome.
The cassoni paintings were intended to delight as well as to inform. They featured allegories and historical subjects, themes appropriate to marriage. The paintings dramatized conflicts between love and duty and often concluded with visions of triumphant harmony. The colorful designs of cassoni showcased the ingenuity of the artists who made them and the sophistication of families that commissioned them.
The exhibition brings together cassoni paintings from major museums, including the Gardner Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. A centerpiece of the exhibition is Worcester Art Museum’s three panels representing the Coronation of Emperor Frederick III. The exhibition also presents an opportunity to see two panels from a pair of chests that were separated for hundreds of years.
Drawing from Ringling’s permanent collection of decorative arts, paintings and sculpture, three galleries will be devoted to the domestic interior in Florentine Renaissance and will give visitors a sense of the original context of cassoni.
The exhibition is curated by Dr. Cristelle Baskins, Associate Professor and Chair of Art History, Tufts University; Dr. Alan Chong, Curator of the Collections, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Dr. Virginia Brilliant, Assistant Curator of European Art, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
This exhibition has been organized by The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in collaboration with The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, and is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.