many brilliant talents
This fall, the Michael C. Carlos Museum is mounting the Southeasts largest-ever exhibit devoted to seventeenth-century works from the southern Netherlands.
His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium inaugurated the show, So Many Brilliant Talents: Art and Craft in the Age of Rubens, which features paintings by Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, as well as sculptures, prints, and decorative arts from the era when Spanish rule and resurgent Catholicism influenced the region that became present-day Belgium.
The exhibition, which runs through January 9, 2000, is the debut show from RONNI BAER 76C, the museums first staff curator of European art.
The period was one of extraordinary artistic achievement, with artists of the highest caliber working for the court, the church, and the upper middle class, says Baer, a specialist in Dutch and Flemish art. While it is among the painters of the period, including Rubens and van Dyck, that one finds the artists names most familiar to us, artists in other media were working at an equally distinguished level. Their works tell us a great deal about the interests, institutions, and preoccupations of the time, including the guilds and their influence, the rituals and routines of daily life, and leisure pursuits. The exhibition will put the artistic production of seventeenth-century Flemish culture in a historical context, elucidating the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the time.
The phrase so many brilliant talents, from which the exhibition takes its name, was used in the seventeenth century by Abbé Scaglia, ambassador of Savoy, to describe Rubens. In the context of the Carlos Museums exhibition, it also refers to the entire range and quality of art produced in various media by the many distinguished artists and craftsmen active in the southern Netherlands at the time.
Baer has drawn the exhibit from the royal collections of Belgium and has combined her selections with the Carlos Museums existing permanent collection of European works on paper. She also has created a period room in the museum to coincide with the show, and in October she led an art tour of Belgium.
As curator of European art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta from 1991 to 1995, Baer taught in Emorys art history department as an adjunct professor. She has curated exhibitions of European art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City.G.F.