The Kimbell is hosting the major international loan exhibition Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, a selection of 55 paintings from Scotland’s premier art collections – the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. This magnificent combination of masterworks from the three distinct museums is displayed right here in Fort Worth for you to visit. It is a collection of some of the best-known and well-loved European paintings spanning over 400 years, from the Renaissance to the modern age.
“The exhibition, drawn from one of the world’s finest collections of European art, will offer visitors the chance to discover new works by painters already represented in the Kimbell’s own collection – artists like El Greco, Watteau and Monet,” said Kimbell director Eric M. Lee. “Equally important is the opportunity to encounter rarely seen masterpieces by Botticelli and Vermeer, among the best-loved painters in history.”
Botticelli to Braque features a variety of artists, periods and styles, though each work is marked by its exceptional quality. Earliest paintings are of primarily religious and mythological subjects, and the exhibition concludes with works of abstract visual vocabularies from the early 20th century: Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Double Line and Yellow, 1932, and geometrically conceptualized Cubist still lifes by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.
“The painting that best represents the celebratory spirit of this exhibition is the famous ‘Skating Minister,’” said Kimbell deputy director George Shackelford. “Sir Henry Raeburn, Scotland’s greatest painter, completed the portrait of Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch at the very end of the 18th century, around 1795. The Reverend is posed in profile – in ‘mid-skate’ – and the image of freedom and confidence has come to symbolize the Scottish Enlightenment.”
Among the highlights of the exhibition are several paintings celebrating the Scottish landscape and its great citizens. Raeburn is represented in the exhibition by three portraits; in addition to the Reverend Walker, there are two full-length portraits of tartan-clad Scottish grandees.
Among the portraits selected for the exhibition, which come from all the galleries, are many that are linked to British history and culture. The Flemish painter Sir Antony van Dyck, closely allied with King Charles I, painted the monarch’s daughters, who were the great-granddaughters of Mary, Queen of Scots, as babies in 1637. The three Waldegrave sisters, Lady Charlotte Maria, Lady Elizabeth Laura and Lady Anna Horatia Waldegrave, were painted by the English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds at the request of the young women’s uncle, the collector and esthetician Horace Walpole. They are shown collectively engaged in a refined handicraft, embroidering a cloth with fine silk. A little more than a century later, the American-born painter John Singer Sargent painted an extraordinary likeness of Gertrude, the wife of Sir Andrew Noel Agnew, 9th Baron of Lochnaw and a lawyer with political ambitions who came from an old Scottish family. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, the portrait was much admired; it brought Sargent his reputation for elegant, sophisticated portraiture and established Lady Agnew’s status as a beauty and hostess.
Botticelli to Braque is free to members and runs through September 20th.