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.



Precious Cargo

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.


Recorded October 13, 2022

Curator Talk: European Splendors

Enjoy an overview of the CMA’s remarkable Kress holdings of Renaissance and Baroque art from CMA Curator Michael Neumeister.


Recorded November 16, 2022

Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael: The Italian Renaissance in America

From “high” culture to pop culture, the Italian Renaissance has left an indelible imprint in America. Dr. Anna Swartwood House charts the 19th- and 20th-century fascination with Renaissance Italy and considers why we should still care about it today.

Dr. House is an associate professor of art history at the School of Visual Art and Design at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on intersections between Renaissance art and artists north and south of the Alps, artists’ biographies, and the reception of art. She is author of the forthcoming book Antonello da Messina and the History of Art.


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.

Take the Tour