May23 –Oct. 11, 2009
Sarasota, FL—March 31, 2009 – The Biblical women Judith and Salome are two of the most popular subjects in 16th and 17th century art. Visitors will learn the stories of these women and how they have been portrayed by artists in the Dangerous Women exhibition, May 23-Oct. 11, 2009 at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. This exhibition will teach visitors their stories and explore how individual artists portrayed their themes and subjects.
“Coming on the shoulders of the popular You Be the Judge exhibition, Dangerous Women will similarly encourage visitors to engage in participatory viewing,” said Dr. John Wetenhall Executive Director of the Ringling Museum. “Visitors will learn the role of iconography in art and use this to deepen their ability to understand and enjoy the Museum’s collection.”
The exhibition will feature eight paintings of Judith and Salome from the Ringling’s permanent collection, spanning the period 1520-1700 AD.
Artists have depicted the two separate, yet similar, stories of Judith and Salome throughout history using a variety of iconography and imagery. Both Judith and Salome are temptresses who seduced and then beheaded men of prominence garnering them both reputations as “femme fatales.” Because both Judith and Salome’s stories are similar it is easy to confuse the two in paintings.
Using wall labels for guidance, visitors will learn the iconography commonly found in paintings of Judith and Salome. Such iconographic details include key objects and the placement of these objects as well as the presence and placement of key figures. These symbols serve as clues to identify which woman is portrayed in the painting.
“By familiarizing the viewer with different images of the same story,” said Alexandra Libby, Associate Curator of European Art at the Ringling Museum, “we hope to enable a richer and more informed viewing experience.”
At the end of the exhibition visitors will have the opportunity to view a painting and discern which story—the story of Judith or Salome--is depicted. Visitors will then be encouraged to cast their vote on which woman they believe is depicted in the painting using an interactive touch-screen computer installed in the galleries.
An educational Spotlight program on the exhibition will be held on June 12, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Using the exhibition, participants will consider the evolving definition of the “dangerous woman.” Saint or sinner, heroine or hellion, the depiction of women in the history of art is a function of changing social attitudes and moral conventions. The Spotlight will be presented by Alexandra Libby, Assistant Curator of European Art at the Ringling Museum. Participants in the program should arrive in the Visitor Pavilion at least 15 minutes prior to the program. Advance tickets are required by calling Advance Ticket Sales at 941.358.3180. Tickets are $12 for members and $19 for non-members.