Denver Art Museum

Museum Monday travels to Denver, Colorado this week with a museum experience at the Denver Art Museum.  Located at the Cultural Center near the state capital, two buildings stretch across the downtown plaza, housing an eclectic mix of modern art and masterworks.

Denver Art Museum’s selection of Early British Portraiture concentrates on the Tudor and Jacobean era, 1500 through the early 1600’s.  A close study reveals the life of turbulent politics, swiftly changing fashion and high infant mortality.  Dominating this time are Tudor monarchs Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, represented in works by their court artists, Hans Holbein and Nicholas Hilliard.   Their followers Hans Eworth, Robert Peake, Hieronimo Custodis and William Larkin are included, along with Dutch and Flemish emigre artists working in England also represented.

Thomas Pead, 1578, Cornelis Ketel 1548-1616

Detail of Thomas Pead

This portrait of Thomas Pead reflects the style of the times.  As registrar of the archdeaconries of Norwich and Sudbury, Mr. Pead recorded births and deaths; the painting shows him with the quill and paper of his profession.  His hand rests on a skull with the Latin inscription, “Take heed of the end,” a further reference to his work; this popular type of painting, known as a vanitas picture, urged the viewer to make the most of life because death comes to us all.

Henry FitzAlan, 12th Earl of Arundel, 1550, Hans Eworth 1520-1573

Mary Radclyffe, 1610-1613, William Larkin 1580-1619

Portrait of Three Girls, 1620, Follower of William Larkin

Edward, Prince of Wales, 1538, Hans Holbein the Younger and Studio 1497-1543

The portrait of Henry VIII’s only son, Edward (1537-1553), was painted when the boy was 14 months old.  Although just a toddler, Hans Holbein portrayed him as a small adult, standing in an adult pose, wearing adult dress, his right hand raised in the gesture of an orator.  It is a fitting image for the son and heir of one of the most powerful men in Europe.

Madonna and Child with Saints

Madonna and Child with Saints, 1510, Bernardo Zenale 1464-1526

Detail from Madonna and Child with Saints

Leonardo da Vinci spent many years in Milan, his art having a profound impact on the local artists.  In this painting, the Virgin’s features and the grotto setting recall the Virgin of the Rocks, a painting Leonardo made for the same church.  Bernardo Zenale depicted the Virgin and Child and the three saints all in a single painting.  This was a departure from the medieval style of multi-panel altarpieces, which forced the artist to depict each saint on a separate panel.  A special display covers the conservation and restoration of this painting.

The recipient of a grant from TEFAF earlier this year, the museum will use the funding to restore a masterwork discovered in their collection by Canaletto, Venice: the Molo from the Bacino di San Marco.  Following the progress of the restoration on their website, with blogs from the curatorial staff documenting some interesting discoveries;  Timothy Standring tells how the painting was discovered in storage and the various steps to establish provenance, or artistic attribution.

Interactive museum and patron participation

Patron answering the query for a funny furniture story

The museum includes many interactive suggestions for patrons to participate in the exhibitions; telling a funny story about furniture in the decorative arts area to the Touch of the Brush kiosk.  Using Dream of Arcadia by Thomas Cole, participants can zoom into the surface of the canvas, picking out small details in high magnification in order to study the use of color and other techniques of the artist.  The detail can be small enough not to be visible when viewing the painting alone.

Dream of Arcadia, 1838, Thomas Cole 1801-1848

Interactive library and lounge

The latest technology from iPhone and Android incorporating mobile apps uncovers hidden layers of multimedia content on the artworks.  Patrons are encouraged to leave their own thoughts to share with other visitors.

Architectural artifact

Still Life with the Telegraph, 1880, William Harnett 1848-1892

The Family of Street Acrobats, the injured child, 1873, Gustave Dore 1832-1883

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual stroll through the Denver Art Museum.  I will be including more pictures on my Pinterest page.  Denver is a unique city, filled with culture and history, not just cowboy memorabilia.  Next Monday, I will take you to the mountains and the museum at the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Detail from Via Appia, 1873, John Linton Chapman 1839-1905

Mary Jo


1 Comment

Filed under August

One response to “Denver Art Museum

  1. Aiesha

    Very bright and expressive painting.Thank you for sharing these precious works.The colours in the face are lovely, and the hair is

    Hawaiian Paintings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s