October 1, 2022 – January 1, 2023
European Splendors offers a chance to re-experience the CMA’s Kress Collection — largely off view since 2017 — in a luxurious new way. Featuring an exciting arc of Italian art from the late medieval to the Baroque period shown alongside apothecary mortars and furniture pieces, this exhibition explores the renewed emphasis on the human condition and individualism within religious art and culminates in stunning examples of Dutch portraiture and still life. Italian landscapes by Bernardo Bellotto and Giovanni Paolo Pannini illustrate the impulse to bring a piece of history home from one’s Grand Tour as well as the 18th-century mania for Greco-Roman ruins.
The largest portion of Samuel H. Kress’ personal collection went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Thanks to a series of gifts from his foundation, the second largest repository came to the Columbia Museum of Art. Thirty of these European paintings, representing the 13th to the 18th centuries, are now on an extraordinary national tour aimed at making these art-historical treasures accessible to new audiences until they return home in 2024. This exhibition gives Midlands viewers an opportunity to see them in the midst of their travels.
Organized by the Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina with support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York.
How do you protect priceless works of art for shipping?
The works in this exhibition have returned home for a few months in the midst of their travels around the country. Learn more about the conservation and shipping preparation that was necessary to make this happen from CMA curatorial team members Mike and Daniel.
01 / Today
Free First Thursday at the CMAEnjoy free admission courtesy of Dominion Energy and extended hours. Sip and scribble with the FAAAC at 5:00 p.m. Take a guided tour of featured exhibitions European Splendors: Highlights from the Kress Collection and The Art of Elizabeth Catlett: From the Collection of Samella Lewis at 6:00 p.m. Be on Boyd Plaza in the evening for live music, food vendors, and The Whig's last beer garden.
01 / Today
Public Tour: Featured ExhibitionsTake a guided tour of European Splendors: Highlights from the Kress Collection and The Art of Elizabeth Catlett: From the Collection of Samella Lewis. Learn about art from the Italian Renaissance in the CMA Collection and the Modernist expressions of Elizabeth Catlett and her contemporaries who used their art to change the world. Free as part of First Thursday at the CMA.
11 / December
Public Tour: Featured ExhibitionsTake a guided tour of European Splendors: Highlights from the Kress Collection and The Art of Elizabeth Catlett: From the Collection of Samella Lewis. Learn about art from the Italian Renaissance in the CMA Collection and the Modernist expressions of Elizabeth Catlett and her contemporaries who used their art to change the world.
11 / December
Catlett as Catalyst: Tours and Discussion with Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters
Sunday, December 11 | 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. | Main Street tour begins at 3:15 p.m.The stories of our past often intersect in unexpected ways, inspiring discussion of topics we might not otherwise consider related. The partnering of the Art of Elizabeth Catlett: From the Collection of Samella Lewis and European Splendors: Highlights from the Kress Collection provides one of those opportunities. Join us to discuss these concurrent exhibitions through the lens of the Civil Rights Movement in Columbia with conversation led by staff of the Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters initiative. Meet at the CMA before journeying down Main Street with your tour guide, Dr. Bobby Donaldson of Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters and associate professor of history and executive director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina. Upon returning to the museum, join a CMA docent for a tour of The Art of Elizabeth Catlett and European Splendors before gathering for a discussion about the topics of the day, led again by Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters.
15 / December
Art in Focus with Dr. Frank MartinIn a series of 20-minute spotlight talks, Dr. Frank Martin and guests explore themes found in an individual artwork on view, offering an opportunity to discover new insights with a true Renaissance specialist. Art in Focus features pieces in the CMA’s Kress Collection, both in the exhibition European Splendors and the CMA Collection galleries. Free with membership or admission.
Don't miss it!
The Kress Collection was largely removed from view in 2017 when the CMA took down the collection for our museum renovation. A national educational tour was formed with the collaboration of the Kress Foundation, and Columbia is a midway stop on that tour.
Viewers will have the opportunity to see some of our rarely-displayed Kress decorative arts, many of which are light-sensitive.
This is a unique chance to explore the long arc of modern art history as it emerged out of Late Medieval religious and abstracted art and transformed through a renewed emphasis on Humanism.
Other museums this exhibition is traveling to include:
Albany Museum of Art | Albany, Georgia
August 28 – December 26, 2021
BYU Museum of Art | Provo, Utah
February 18 – July 30, 2022
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts | Montgomery, Alabama
September 2023 – January 2024
Multimedia Gallery Tour
Curator Michael Neumeister and Art Historian Anna Swartwood House dig deep into some of the works in European Splendors.
Hannah and Ron Rogers
Suzanne and Robert Clawson
Pete and Vickie Neighbour