This special exhibition of European portrait painting features works by master artists from the late fifteenth century through the early nineteenth century. Representing the range of styles and themes in Old Master portraiture, the twenty-nine paintings and one sculpture in the exhibition include remarkable works by Memling, Cranach, Parmigianino, Ribera, Rubens, Van Dyck, Greuze, and David, as well as other extraordinary works by lesser-known painters.
This exhibition is the first opportunity for the public to see many of these works, which have been lent exclusively to the Clark from a private collection. Some highlights to watch out for include Portrait of a Man by the brilliant Mannerist artist Parmigianino, painted around 1530 in Bologna, and the glamorous and arresting Portrait of a Young Woman by Giovanni Battista Moroni, a sixteenth-century portrait specialist famous for his penetrating depictions and widely considered one of the most talented portrait painters of all time.
Among the early nineteenth-century works are a pair of portraits of a husband and wife painted by Jacques-Louis David while in exile in Brussels, and a portrayal of a dashing young cavalry officer in Napoleon’s army by David’s great follower Baron Antoine-Jean Gros.
“The Clark was founded by a great private art collector,” says Michael Conforti, director of the Clark, “and we continue to value the insights and discernments represented by a passionate collector’s discriminating eye. Each work on view is exceptional in itself, and together the collection constitutes a brief but rich survey of Old Master portraiture.”
Eye to Eye is organized by Richard Rand, the Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Senior Curator and Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, and Kathleen M. Morris, the Sylvia and Leonard Marx Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Curator of Decorative Arts, both at the Clark. “For centuries, portraiture has captured the imagination of artists and viewers, not to say the sitters themselves,” Rand says. “But what makes a portrait successful? Is it an accurate likeness? An indication of the sitter’s character or social status? A fabulous mastery of the formal possibilities of art-making? Eye to Eye explores these questions through close examination of a fascinating group of masterworks, assembled before the public for the first time.”
Take an inside look at these special works, and we hope to see you in the galleries this winter!
Lucas Cranach, the Elder (German, 1472–1553), Portrait of a Young Woman Holding Grapes and Apples, 1528. Oil on panel transferred to canvas, 32 1/8 x 21 5/8 in. (81.6 x 55 cm). Private collection. Photo by Glenn Castellano.
Ambrosius Benson (Netherlandish, active by 1519–1550), Portrait of a Man at a Window, c. 1530. Oil on panel, 16 x 12 in. (41 x 30.5 cm). Private collection. Photo by Glenn Castellano.
Giovanni Battista Moroni (Italian, c. 1525–1578), Portrait of a Young Woman, c. 1564–70. Oil on canvas, 20 3/8 x 16 3/4 in. (51.8 x 42.5 cm). Private collection. Photo by Glenn Castellano.
Antoine-Jean Gros (French, 1771–1835), Portrait of Count Honoré de La Riboisière, 1815. Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 1/4 in. (73 x 59 cm). Private collection. Photo by Glenn Castellano.
Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640), Portrait of a Young Man, c. 1613–15. Oil on panel, 26 x 20 1/2 in. (66 x 52 cm). Private collection. Photo by Glenn Castellano.