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Gallery 5 Theme

Art and Identity

"Gallery 5"Artists often explore characteristics that communicate a person's status, personality, and distinctiveness. Gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, and heritage can be constructed or reconstructed through the use of color, form, and technique. These attributes determine and contribute to our self-identification within a complex network of social, political, religious, national, and local groups. In addition to representing the people who populate their visual world, artists have the power to express the maker's sense of self.

Art gives us the opportunity to think about individuals who may or may not be familiar to us. Do these pieces articulate a sense of who we are as individuals, as society, or as a nation? 

Gallery 18 Theme

Modern Impulses

Many early 20th-century artists believed that challenging the rigid rules of academic painting was the greatest achievement of Impressionism. The work of Monet and his colleagues suggest that light and color change the permanence of an object right before our eyes. Things in the world, their paintings imply, are not as solid or real as they seem. This attitude was rebellious and modern in its time, and it would have great consequence for the course that art in the Western world would take.

During this same time period, many artists demonstrated an interest in emotion and a preference for subjective interpretation over realistic representation. New types of art including Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism emerged as new materials, new techniques (notably the expressive use of color), and especially new attitudes evolved.

 

Early modern artists separated themselves from earlier traditionalists, and their work pointed toward and prepared the way for the wildly experimental and often conceptually complicated work of our own time.

Gallery 3 Theme

Spiritual Beings

Like their earthly counterparts, spiritual beings are depicted to show their cultural importance. These images can reinforce faith or serve to spread that faith. Commonly they are objects of devotion, helping people to think spiritually, to pray, or to meditate. Very often, images of spiritual beings are an inspiration to the viewer.

To ensure a god or other spiritual being is recognized, cultural symbols that people are familiar with and understand are often included in these depictions. The biblical Mary, mother of Jesus, is usually shown wearing blue, signifying that she is the queen of heaven. The Buddha is known to his followers through, among other symbols, his hand gestures.

Spiritual beings, like heroes, are most often represented as still, poised, and calm, evoking a sense of harmony and permanence.

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