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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : Harvard Art Museums : Room 2500

Harvard Art Museums – Room 2500

Art From Us, Museum Guide #876

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #876 the spotlight is on the Harvard Art Museums’ Room 2500. Showcasing a collection of Art and Image in Europe.

The three works in focus are :

The Nativity, Giovanni di Paolo, c. 1455-1460
The Adoration of the Magi, Cosmè Tura, c. 1480
Joos van der Burch and Saint Simon of Jerusalem, Follower of Gerard David, c. 1493

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #876

The works shown Room 2500 are from the era between the 13th to 16th centuries in Europe. At this time, the Catholic Church was one of the biggest patrons of the arts. Resultantly, a lot of artists from this era drew inspiration from Christian mythology for their works.

According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Museum of Art :

“One of the most important artistic categories was the altarpiece. The works in this gallery testify to the wealth of materials and techniques employed by carpenters, painters, and sculptors in making these sacred objects.”

While depicting saints, the virgin mother, Jesus or using any religious iconography, artists were very particular about their choice of medium. The gateways to trade across the seas had just opened out, opening up the art world to a realm of possibilities. Artists in Europe sourced only the best materials while painting certain subjects. For instance, gold leaf was used to imply spiritual transcendence of saints, blue pigments made from lapis lazuli were used to paint robes of mother Mary or saints.


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