Current Exhibitions

The Bones of the Earth: Scholars’ Rocks and the Natural World in Chinese Culture, Selections from the Robert Turvene Collection

April 17, 2017
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April 21 – August 13, 2017

In Chinese philosophy and ancient legend, Scholars’ rocks were viewed as “the bones of the earth”. Since the Song dynasty (960–1279), these natural sculptures have been regarded as artifacts of the sacred relationship between man and nature and described in folklore as otherworldly. Collectors of these stones use them for contemplation and inspiration. The selections on view at the Muscarelle Museum of Art are part of larger group and promised gift from the Collection of Robert Turvene (W&M ’53) and are comprised of every revered type including Lingbi, Ying, Taihu, Mohu, Nine Dragon, Kun, Meng and Three Gorges.

Curated by Lowry Palmer (W&M ’17) and Elizabeth Dowker (W&M ’20). Press release is available here.

The Art and Science of Connoisseurship

April 5, 2017
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February 11 – August 13, 2017

The Art and Science of Connoisseurship explores the creative narrative behind six paintings attributed to Agnolo Bronzino, Annibale Carracci, Guido Reni, Peter Paul Rubens, Peter Lely, and Paul Cézanne.  This exhibition presents a series of visual examinations and scientific analyses that address the questions of who, what, where, when, and why surrounding these recently-acquired paintings.  From observations of stylistic progression and considerations of an artist’s chronology, to the identification of retouched surfaces and studies of paint samples, each of the Muscarelle’s new works presents distinctive issues in connoisseurship.

Written in Confidence: The Unpublished Letters of James Monroe

December 2, 2016
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February 11 – May 14, 2017

Unpublished and on view for the first time, these letters are an important new resource for research and scholarship, providing viewers with a unique, inside glimpse of the man who served as President of the United States from 1817 to 1825.  Playing out as a drama in letters, these documents shed light on Monroe’s deliberations, particularly when making political appointments, revealing the sometimes uneasy task of granting positions of power.  The letters’ exhibition and their accessibility to researchers at the Special Collections Research Center create the exciting potential for new discoveries. Uncovering lost details of Monroe’s life and leadership, they provide a new lens through which to view one of the nation’s early leaders.

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[Monroe-Crawford Letters, 1816-1822, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, William & Mary Libraries.]

A Deed Well Done: Thomas Jefferson’s 1783 Honorary Degree

December 1, 2016
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February 11 – May 14, 2017

Thomas Jefferson’s Honorary Degree , on loan from the Massachusetts Historical Society, is the only diploma Jefferson received from his alma mater and confers upon him “gladly and eagerly of the degree of doctor in the civil law.”  This pocket exhibition focuses on Jefferson’s years at William & Mary and the mentors who helped shaped the mind of the third President of the United States.

This exhibition is co-sponsored by the Office of the President at William & Mary.