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The Ivory Mirror: The Art of Mortality in Renaissance Europe

This exhibition constitutes a significant contribution to our understanding of a critical facet of late medieval and early modern culture: the centrality of the macabre.

Introduction

This exhibition will constitute a significant contribution to our understanding of a critical facet of late medieval and early modern culture: the centrality of the macabre. The theme reached the apex of its popularity in the years around 1500, when artists working in a variety of media treated it in innovative and compelling ways. The exhibition will focus in particular on a group of carved ivories, but will also display related works in other media to demonstrate the widespread interest in human mortality.

Finally, we offer our heartfelt thanks to the many generous funders of this exhibition and catalogue, without whom this undertaking would not be possible. We are deeply grateful for contributions on the part of the Stevens L. Frost Endowment Fund, The Roth Family, Class of 1976 and 2013, the Becker Fund for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, The Devonwood Foundation, Caroline and Edward Hyman P’10, the Class of 1976 Art Conservation Fund, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Shapell Family Art Fund, the Sylvia E. Ross Fund, Robert Judd and Dr. Cristle Collins Judd, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Robert Lehman Foundation, the Lowell Innes Fund, Mary K. McGuigan and John F. McGuigan Jr., Thomas ’06 and Hannah Weil McKinley ’08, Svetlana and Eric Silverman ’85, P’19, the Peter M. Small Professorship Fund, the Friends Fund of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Maine Humanities Council, Lady Jill Shaw Ruddock ’77 CBE and Sir Paul Ruddock CBE, Lindsay R. ’95 and Peter Stavros, and the Roy A. Hunt Foundation.

 

Works in the Exhibition

"Memento Mori Prayer Bead," 1500-1550, German or Netherlandish.  Gift of Linda and David Roth in memory of David P. Becker.

"Memento Mori Prayer Bead," 1500-1550, German or Netherlandish. Gift of Linda and David Roth in memory of David P. Becker.

Albrecht Dürer, German," St. Jerome in his Study," 1514, engraving. Bequest of David P. Becker, Class of 1970. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Albrecht Dürer, German," St. Jerome in his Study," 1514, engraving. Bequest of David P. Becker, Class of 1970. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Lucas van Leyden, Netherlandish, "Young Man with a Skull," ca. 1519, engraving. Gift of Charles Pendexter.

Lucas van Leyden, Netherlandish, "Young Man with a Skull," ca. 1519, engraving. Gift of Charles Pendexter.

Master S (Alexander van Brugsal?), Netherlandish, "Memento Mori," ca. 1520, engraving, with contemporary hand coloring. Gift of Linda and David Roth in memory of David P. Becker and Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund.

Master S (Alexander van Brugsal?), Netherlandish, "Memento Mori," ca. 1520, engraving, with contemporary hand coloring. Gift of Linda and David Roth in memory of David P. Becker and Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund.

Hans Holbein the Younger, "Death and the Rich Man," ca. 1526, woodcut. Bequest of David P. Becker, Class of 1970. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Hans Holbein the Younger, "Death and the Rich Man," ca. 1526, woodcut. Bequest of David P. Becker, Class of 1970. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Johan Wierix, Flemish, "The Coat of Arms of Death," 1549-1615, engraving. Museum Purchase. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Johan Wierix, Flemish, "The Coat of Arms of Death," 1549-1615, engraving. Museum Purchase. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Visiting the Exhibition

June 24, 2017 - November 26, 2017

    Boyd Gallery, Shaw Ruddock Gallery