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Walters Art Museum 2011 Exhibition Schedule

Walters Art Museum Advance Exhibition Schedule for 2011.

Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe
February 13–May 15, 2011
Medieval Christians venerated saints; their bodily remains were often displayed in special containers, known as reliquaries. Covered in gold and silver and embellished with gems and semiprecious stones, reliquaries proclaimed the special status of their sacred contents to worshipers and pilgrims. For this reason, reliquaries emerged as important objects of artistic innovation, as expressions of civic and religious identity, and as focal points of ritual action. This exhibition of 133 works will explore the emergence and transformation of several key types of reliquaries, moving from an age in which saintly remains were enshrined within closed containers to an era in which relics were increasingly presented directly to worshipers, from Late Antiquity until the Reformation and beyond.

The Walters is partnering with the Cleveland Museum of Art (Oct. 17, 2010–Jan. 17, 2011) and The British Museum (June 23, 2011–Oct. 9, 2011).

This project received important early support through planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Magnanimous gifts from Paul Ruddock and an anonymous benefactor made the catalogue possible. We acknowledge with gratitude the support of Marilyn and George Pedersen and the Sheridan Foundation which together with additional implementation funds from the Kress Foundation, a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and gifts from other generous individuals made the exhibition possible.

Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes
October 16, 2011–January 1, 2012
In Jerusalem in 1229 AD the greatest works of the Greek mathematician Archimedes were erased and overwritten with a prayer book by a priest called Johannes Myronas. In the year 2000 a project was begun by a team of experts at the Walters Art Museum to read these erased texts. By the time they had finished, the team that worked on the book had recovered Archimedes secrets, rewritten the history of mathematics and discovered entirely new texts from the ancient world. This exhibition will tell that famous story. It will recount the history of the book, detail the patient conservation, explain the cutting-edge imaging and highlight the discoveries of the dogged and determined scholars who finally read what had been obliterated.


Beasts on Parchment: Picturing Animals in Medieval Manuscripts
November 6, 2010–February 6, 2011
Both real and fantastic, animals play an important role in medieval art and thought. In illuminated manuscripts, they appear in many places and in many guises—from full-page miniatures of religious imagery to beautifully painted borders of fantasy tales. This exhibition of 27 books and manuscripts explores the variety of beasts that inhabit the margins and scramble across the pages of medieval books. The show displays the beasts that delighted, fascinated and sometimes frightened medieval people and offers to modern visitors an insight into the values and concerns of medieval society and its imagination.

German Drawings from the Walters’ Collection
November 20, 2010–February 13, 2011
The Walters family spent the years from 1861 to 1865 in Europe. Although William Walters had begun buying American paintings and drawings as early as 1847, this period of extended travel and residence in the capitols of the 19th-century art world had a formative influence on William and, subsequently, on Henry Walters. In the autumn of 1863, William Walters, accompanied by his continental agent George Lucas, made a voyage through Germany, stopping at Cologne and Düsseldorf, where they visited the studios of prominent artists. Further trips across the continent to Vienna followed in 1864. On these journeys Walters developed a taste for modern German art, characterized in the mid-19th century by clear storytelling, appealing subject matter and precise draftsmanship. Walters continued to buy German art from the Düsseldorf Gallery in New York after their return to the United States. This exhibition contains a selection of 15 works, most of which were purchased by William Walters during his time in Europe, as well as some exceptional works that were later added to the collection.

Relics and Reliquaries: Reconsidered
February 26–May 22, 2011
This focus show will feature contemporary reliquaries created by Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) students in the Interdisciplinary Sculpture course Relics, Reliquaries and Enshrined Materials. The work will be inspired by and explore themes put forth by artisans in the material construction of sacred objects from the Walters’ Treasures of Heaven exhibition. Eleven emerging MICA artists mine the cross-cultural and historic conceptions of what a reliquary is or can be. Their art work reflects myriad approaches to the history of reliquary traditions and the sacred interpreted in a contemporary context. There will be an accompanying exhibition, Enshrined Materials, at the Current Space Gallery from Feb. 25–April 1, 2011.

Realistic Perfection: The Making of Oriental Ceramic Art
March 12–June 4, 2011
In 1889, William Walters commissioned Louis Prang & Co., the foremost practitioners of the art of chromolithography, to reproduce choice examples of Chinese porcelain from his extensive collection. The resulting publication, Oriental Ceramic Art by Dr. Stephen W. Bushell, was both a catalog of the collection and a work of art unto itself. This focus show takes the visitor through the production of Oriental Ceramic Art beginning with Chinese porcelain from the Walters collection and its watercolor portrait. It showcases a series of progressive proofs illustrating the exacting technique used to create the luxurious prints bound into this important early catalog.

Setting Sail: Drawings of the Sea from the Walters’ Collection
June 18–September 11, 2011
This show focuses on drawings, prints and watercolors of ships, sailors and the sea from the permanent collection of the Walters Art Museum. Life on shipboard and on shore will be shown in a variety of graphic media. The exhibition will include works by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, Paul Gavarni and Alfred Jacob Miller, among other artists.

The Art of the Writing Instrument from Paris to Persia
July 2–September 25, 2011
This focus show features writing instruments produced in cosmopolitan centers such as Paris, Isfahan and Kyoto. Every culture that values the art of writing has found ways to reflect the prestige and pleasure of writing through beautiful tools. Writing implements, such as pens, knives and scissors, as well as storage chests, pen-cases and writing desks, were often fashioned with precious materials: mother of pearl, gems, imported woods, gold and silver. Once owned by statesmen, calligraphers, wealthy merchants and women of fashion, these stunning objects highlight the ingenuity of the artists who created them and underline the centrality of the written word in the diverse cultures that produced them.

Vessantara: A Thai Story
September 17–December 11, 2011
Thirteen paintings illustrating the jataka story of Prince Vessantara extol the virtue of unlimited charity. In this painting cycle, the prince, an embodiment of the Buddha-to-be, casts off his elephant, his land, his palace, his garments, his children, his wife, etc. until he has given all that can be given. His charity is limitless, and this attracts the attention of the divine. He is rewarded with the return of his wife and his children, transcendent understanding and the restoration of his kingdom, where he is able to assume the role of omniscient ruler.

Living by the Book: Monks, Nuns and Their Manuscripts
October 29, 2011–January 22, 2012
Today, medieval books are treated as works of art, untouchable treasures to be placed in special boxes and locked away in cabinets. Yet many were intended for regular use as vital components of everyday life for monks and nuns, and their way of life was, in turn, crucial for the creation and preservation of manuscripts. A religion based on texts, Christianity created a need for books, as well as the ability to read and copy them. In the vibrant culture of the monastic community, literacy not only led to the creation of new and innovative devotional texts and images, but also to the reading and preservation of secular knowledge. Music, history, science, grammar and classical literature were all actively enjoyed in monasteries, and often it is only through their interest in, and recognition of the importance of, these texts that they were copied and preserved. This exhibition of approximately 15 books will explore the life of the monastery as told through the variety of books that were created, used, cherished, glossed, worn down and even palimpsested by those who lived there over the centuries.

HOURS: Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Hours may vary during special exhibitions.

ADMISSION: General admission is free. Prices are subject to change and may vary for special exhibitions.

LOCATION: The Walters is located in the historic Mt. Vernon Cultural District in downtown Baltimore, at the corner of North Charles and Centre streets, only 10 blocks from the Inner Harbor.

PARKING: A lighted parking lot, with parking attendant, is located directly across from the Walters at Centre and Cathedral streets. A discounted rate is provided when the parking ticket is validated inside the museum.

The Walters Art Museum, located in Baltimore, Maryland’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, is a public art museum founded in 1934. The museum’s collection was amassed substantially by two men, William Thompson Walters (1819-1894), who began serious collecting when he moved to Paris at the outbreak of the American Civil War, and his son Henry Walters (1848–1931), who refined the collection and rehoused it in a palazzo building on Charles Street which opened in 1909. Upon his death, Henry Walters bequeathed the collection of over 22,000 works and the original Charles Street palazzo building to the city of Baltimore, “for the benefit of the public.” The collection touches masterworks of ancient Egypt, Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, medieval ivories, illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance bronzes, Old Master and 19th-century paintings, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, and Art Deco jewelry.
The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
T: 410.547.9000

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