Office of Public Affairs Columbia University New York, N.Y. 10027 212-854-5573
"Apostles in England: Sir James Thornhill and the Legacy of Raphael's Tapestry Cartoons"
October 16 - December 21, 1996. Wed. - Sat. 1 to 5 P.M. Free Admission
Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University, Broadway and 116th Street, New York City. Information: 212-854-7288.
Raphael's tapestry cartoons depicting the Acts of the Apostles helped to launch the "British School" of painting in the 18th century. The Raphael paintings, created two hundred years earlier as designs for tapestries to hang in the Sistine Chapel, were then the only monumental examples of High Renaissance art in England. As such, they spawned generations of painted and engraved copies, many of which are in this exhibition. Featured are seven oil paintings by England's foremost history painter, Sir James Thornhill, shown in the context of a wide variety of works, including five by Hogarth, that underscore the 18th-century zeal for appropriations.
The curator of the exhibition and author of its 112-page illustrated catalogue is Arline Meyer, who is a professor at Ohio State University. The project has been supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Raphael's seven huge gouache paintings, called cartoons, that weavers used in creating a series of tapestries depicting the Acts of the Apostles for the Sistine Chapel nearly 500 years ago exerted enormous influence on the development of painting in England in the 18th century. They were the only monumental examples of High Renaissance painting - and the only original Raphaels - seen there at the time, and they became the model for British artistic production for much of the century, attracting many copyists.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University next month will open a major exhibition focusing on copies of the cartoons by Sir James Thornhill, painted between 1729 and 1731, that were highly important in the development of Raphael's legacy. The exhibition will address issues about the use and reuse of the past and the art of copying, as a reproductive process and a creative, ideological form of translation.
The new attention to the works in New York coincides with the reinstallation of the restored original Raphael cartoons at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where they have resided since 1865.
Columbia has owned the Thornhill paintings since 1959. The curator of the exhibition and author of its 112-page illustrated catalogue is Arline Meyer, who received the Ph.D. from Columbia in art history and is now a professor at Ohio State University. The project has been supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.