North Carolina Museum of Arts Spring Special Exhibitions

NCMA Spring Exhbition: Ansel Adams: Masterworks and Glory of Venice: Renaissance Paintings 1470-1520

artGuide art news blog presents the North Carolina Museum of Art's  spring exhibitions, Ansel Adams: Masterworks and Glory of Venice: Renaissance Paintings 1470-1520. As one of the leading museums in North Carolina, this exhibit captures the wonders of America and the grandeur of Venice. 

Ansel Adams, Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California, circa 1938, gelatin-silver print, 14 3/4 x 19 1⁄4 in., © 2015 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) presents two major exhibitions: one featuring the awe- inspiring work of Ansel Adams, and one showcasing masterpieces from Venice’s cultural Renaissance. On February 4 the Museum opened Ansel Adams: Masterworks, 48 iconic photographs of American landscapes. On March 4 the Museum opens Glory of Venice: Renaissance Paintings 1470–1520, 50 paintings by such masters as Giorgione, Giovanni Bellini, and Vittore Carpaccio, many of which have never been seen outside of Venice. The two exhibitions are ticketed together.

“These two extraordinary exhibitions allow our visitors to explore the majesty of America and the splendor of Venice— all in one location,” says Lawrence J. Wheeler, director of the NCMA. “It will be an unforgettable and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view stunning photographs by the most well-known photographer of our time, and then walk to the next gallery to see rarely exhibited paintings from the most exciting period of Venice’s cultural history.”

Ansel Adams: Masterworks

Through May 7, 2017
East Building, Joyce W. Pope Gallery Ticketed with Glory of Venice

In a career that spanned five decades, Ansel Adams (1902–84) became one of America’s most renowned photographers. This exhibition features 48 photographs from his “Museum Set,” a collection of photographs personally selected by Adams. Adams designated these works late in his life as a succinct representation of the best work of his career.

Included are many of his iconic images of majestic American landscapes, such as El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park; the Golden Gate in San Francisco; Monument Valley in Arizona; and the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. The set shows Adams’s broad range of interests and features not only his popular photographs, but also lesser-known portraits of people and close-ups of nature.

“We feel extremely fortunate to be able to present this set of photographs, hand-selected by the artist himself, to our visitors,” says Linda Dougherty, NCMA curator of contemporary art. “The featured photographs—breathtaking views and impressive depictions of America’s landscapes—reveal the importance Adams placed on the overwhelming power and beauty of the natural world.”

Glory of Venice: Renaissance Paintings 1470–1520

March 4−June 18, 2017
East Building, Meymandi Exhibition Gallery Ticketed with Ansel Adams

Giovanni Bellini, The Annunciation, early 1500s, oil on canvas, 88 x 42 in. each, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Glory of Venice: Renaissance Paintings 1470–1520 features 50 paintings and a significant group of early printed books and individual pages that illustrate a crucial period in the history of Venetian art and culture, widely regarded as one of the most exciting chapters in the history of Western art. The core of the exhibition is a group of masterworks from the world-renowned collection of the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice: major altarpieces, private devotional paintings, secular works, and portraits by such masters as Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, Cima da Conegliano, Giorgione, and Titian. This rare selection includes some works that have never before traveled across the Atlantic; it is supplemented with significant Venetian paintings from U.S. collections, including six from the NCMA.

David Steel, the NCMA’s curator of European art and co-curator of the exhibition, says: “This is the first exhibition solely devoted to Italian art ever presented at the Museum, and it’s a stunner. For the first time in its history, the Accademia museum in Venice, which owns the foremost collection of Venetian art in the world, has agreed to lend a substantial group of its treasures to America, and we are delighted to be one of two venues for this important exhibition.”

In addition to the vibrant and richly colored paintings, the NCMA will display a selection of early Venetian printed books lent from the outstanding rare book collections at the University of North Carolina and Duke University, as well as one of the most spectacular woodcuts ever made, Jacopo de’ Barbari’s bird’s-eye View of Venice. Exhibition co-curator Lyle Humphrey explains: “While the Bellini workshop was spawning Venice’s artistic revolution, introducing new techniques, materials, and formats for painting, other craftsmen and entrepreneurs in the city were adopting and perfecting the technology of printing with movable type and printed images. Around 1500 Venice became a center of innovation in Europe—the Silicon Valley of its time—and a conduit for the circulation of the ideas, scholarship, and imagery from classical antiquity that helped foster the Renaissance.”

This multimedia ensemble, the first Italian-focused major exhibition at the NCMA, is the first U.S. exhibition to examine one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of art, Venice at the dawn of modernity. The paintings and other works in the exhibition document an exciting and dynamic moment in the art and culture of Venice, a magical city that has fascinated visitors and artists for centuries.