The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is internationally renowned for the quality, rarity, and beauty of its European painting collection. Perhaps the most famous aspect is the concentration of Italian Baroque masterpieces. The museum's distinguished director in the 1930s and 40s, Chick Austin, began this collection when such works were out of fashion and was able to acquire notable examples by Strozzi, Luca Giordano, and the first authentic Caravaggio in an American museum - - Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy.
Spanish and Northern paintings of the 17th century also were acquired including the great Claude and unusual works of Sweerts. Austin's successor, Charles Cunningham, built on this foundation and added some of the collection's most notable baroque and rococo treasures by Frans Hals, Zubarán, and Panini. In more recent times examples by Vouet, Cuyp, and Valerio Castello were added to the collection.
This exhibition presents sixty-one masterpieces spanning the 15th through the 18th centuries; beginning with such Renaissance masters as Piero di Cosimo, continuing with the finest examples of Baroque painting, and culminating in exemplary works from the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic era by such artists as Joseph Wright of Derby, Bernardo Bellotto, Thomas Gainsborough, and J.M.W. Turner. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy
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Janine Luke and Melvin R. Seiden