NORMAN, OKLA. – A new exhibition introducing the vibrant art history of Arezzo, Italy, opens this week at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, marking the first time these Renaissance paintings, jewelry, textiles and illuminated books have ever been exhibited outside Italy.
Organized by the museum and guest curated by art historian Nicoletta Baldini, Treasures of Tuscany: Renaissance in Arezzois the first international exhibition devoted entirely to the Artinian Renaissance, featuring artworks drawn from more than 20 Italian institutions and private collections.
“This is the first time any of the artworks have ever left Italy,” said Thomas Smith, Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. “These objects will only be on view at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art before returning to their homes in monasteries, museums and private collections in Tuscany.”
Between 1470 and 1530, Renaissance artists in Arezzo – one of Norman’s sister cities and home to the OU in Arezzo study abroad program – created magnificent paintings, textiles and liturgical objects for the Catholic Church and wealthy patrons. However, Arezzo’s artistic contributions have long been overlooked, overshadowed by those of nearby Florence.
“The exhibition not only highlights paintings created by Arezzo’s greatest Renaissance artists, but it also includes manuscripts, early printed books, textiles, reliquaries and precious objects intended for worship that were created in the same period,” Baldini said. “Together, these works illustrate the richness of Arezzo’s artistic heritage.”
Treasures of Tuscany opens with views of 15th-century Arezzo followed by notable examples of paintings and goldsmithing completed for area churches. The powerful Medici family is present through reproductions of Eleonora di Toledo’s jewels and clothing (Eleonora, the first wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was a patron of artists and the Boboli Gardens that overlook Florence). The exhibit concludes with contemporary jewelry and textiles from the province of Arezzo, which remains a producer of gold and textiles today.
Large graphics reproduce views of churches that many of the 40-plus artworks derive from. The graphics and gallery layout allow visitors to imagine they are walking through the narrow streets and arched doorways of a Tuscan village.
Treasures of Tuscany is generously supported by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
The public is invited to the opening of Treasures of Tuscany: Renaissance in Arezzo on Thursday, Oct. 12. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 28.
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located in the OU Arts District on the corner of Elm Avenue and Boyd Street, at 555 Elm Ave., on the OU Norman campus. Admission to the museum is complimentary to all visitors. Information and accessibility accommodations are available by calling (405) 325-4938 or visiting ou.edu/fjjma.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.