Arts / Museums

PaperCity Video Exclusive — A Virtual Visit With Some of The Kimbell’s Most Illustrious Works

Renowned Fort Worth Museum's Curator Offers a Closer Look at Giovanni Lanfranco’s Assumption of Mary Magdalene

BY // 04.15.20

Like many of you, we miss visiting our local museums for inspiration, or just to lose ourselves in the canvases of Rothko or Rembrandt. Many institutions had opened exhibitions shortly before the order came for us to shelter-in-place. The world-renowned Kimbell Art Museum, for example, had unveiled “Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum” on March 1. On view in those now-dark galleries are nearly 40 works from artists including Raphael, El Greco, and Titian.

To stay engaged with their audiences who are now at home, the Kimbell now provides a rich assortment of online resources. (For other organizations with such content, search #MuseumFromHome on social media platforms. An abundance of educational tools are available for families with children who are now distance learning.)

Guillaume Kientz, the Kimbell’s curator of European art (who is sheltering-in-place in New York City), has produced some videos of highlights from the “Flesh and Blood” exhibition that we’re pleased to share exclusively with you here on PaperCityMag.com. Kientz joined the museum’s team in early 2019 after his tenure as the curator of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American art at the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

In this first video, he gives a brief introduction to Giovanni Lanfranco’s Assumption of Mary Magdalene. Hopefully soon the galleries will open once again at the Kimbell in Fort Worth, and you’ll have the chance to see this work and the many other masterpieces on view.

GIOVANNI LANFRANCO, Italian, 1582–1647, Assumption of Mary Magdalene, circa 1611, Oil on canvas

Lanfranco_AssumptionofMaryMagdalene
Assumption of Mary Magdalene, GIOVANNI LANFRANCO

In the 1200s, a legend claimed that after Christ’s Ascension, his follower Mary Magdalene journeyed to southern France and lived as a hermit in a cave for 30 years. Angels carried her to heaven seven times a day for spiritual nourishment. Lanfranco, who had been a pupil of Agostino Carracci in Bologna, created this haunting image of faith and surrender as part of his decoration of the Room of the Hermits in the Palazzetto Farnese in Rome. Cardinal Odoardo Farnese (1573–1626) would retreat there for contemplation among Lanfranco’s four frescoes of hermit saints along the walls and nine small canvases in gilded frames mounted on the ceiling.

This work, one of only two ceiling paintings that survive, gives some idea of what the others would have looked like — small figures within or above vast landscapes, evoking spiritual retreat in nature.

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For more information about the Kimbell Art Museum or “Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum,” go to kimbellart.org.

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