In Metamorphosis and Malice, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art brings together the only three known monochromatic paintings by Pontormo, a leading painter in sixteenth century Florence. Having apprenticed with Leonardo Da Vinci, Pontormo created paintings that represent a profound stylistic departure from the perspectival regularity, balance, and tranquility of the High Renaissance. His artworks often involve contortions of the body and a sense of supernatural energy over grounded physicality. Related paintings, drawings, and prints from artists in the Florentine School and elsewhere, including several commissioned by the Medici family, help to contextualize the subject matter and style of Pontormo’s three monochromatic paintings. The exhibition also explores how Pontormo and other artists engaged with themes of the supernatural, metamorphosis, and malice in depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, as well as works by the Roman poet Ovid.
This exhibition is curated by Ingrid Astley ’24, with support from Frank Goodyear, BCMA co-director, and Susan Wegner, associate professor of art history, Bowdoin College.
Read the exhibition labels here.