Art Gallery of Alberta

Of Heaven & Earth Tweet Chat

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Of Heaven & Earth Tweet Chat

As our popular exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums comes to close, we talk with the American Federation of Arts, one of the organizers of this amazing exhibition, about how these masterworks arrived at your AGA.

Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums closes on Sunday, March 9


The Chat

AGA Question 1: What are the key steps to organizing an exhibition like Of #HeavenAndEarth?

AFA Answer 1: Finalizing the list of works and the exhibition narrative with the guest curator is the first step. Then finding host museums, and arranging the logistics of conserving & transporting the art. Lots of paperwork! Since some of the works are very old, we also make sure to comply with gov’t regs on taking art across borders.

AGA Q2: How do you care for artworks that are hundreds of years old?

AFA A2: Climate control! Keeping works at stable temperature and humidity, and free of dust and pests, is imperative. We work with people trained to handle fragile art; before moving any works, we assess and mitigate the risks. @GlasgowMuseums conservators are extremely knowledgeable in how various materials age and what to look out for.

AGA Q3: #HeavenAndEarth travelled to @youraga from overseas-How do you prep very large, delicate works for a long journey?

AFA A3: First, conservators meticulously evaluate and stabilize every work to ensure they can travel safely. Before traveling, each object is packed in custom-fit, reinforced fine art crates. At the host museums, works remain in their crates for at least 24 hours to adapt to conditions in the new space.

Q4: How does a work, like Titian’s “The Head of a Man”, get attributed to said artist without a signature?

AFA A4: Titian trained with the artist Giorgione, and similarities in their styles make some attributions tricky. For “Head of a Man” and “Christ and the Adulteress” in Of #HeavenAndEarth, the great color use points to Titian. So do the energetic figure treatments. The art of attribution relies on close looking and careful scholarship!


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