Past Exhibitions

Botticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities

December 2, 2016
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February 11 – April 5, 2017

The restless genius of Sandro Botticelli (Florence, 1445-1510) is explored in depth in the most important Botticelli exhibition ever seen in the United States, Botticelli and the Search for the Divine; a major international loan exhibition organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg, Va., in partnership with Italy’s Associazione Culturale Metamorfosi.  Every phase of the artist’s tumultuous career is represented in this selection, as well as nine works by his master Filippo Lippi, the only pupil of Masaccio. Botticelli was guided to success by the Medici dynasty, the patrons for sacred altarpieces and sensuous paintings of classical mythology, including several in this unprecedented exhibition. After the fall of the Medici, many of his paintings were lost in the bonfires of the vanities.

In the fourth such partnership, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as its only other venue and will include one of only two of Botticelli’s paintings of an isolated Venus, on view for the first time in the United States.  This exhibition is curated by Dr. John T. Spike.

February 11 – April 5, 2017 at the Muscarelle Museum of Art
and April 15 – July 9, 2017 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Public tours will be held at the following times:

Wednesday at 6:00 PM
Friday at 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday at 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM

Download the Exhibition Brochure

Press Release Available Here

Image credit: Sandro Botticelli and workshop | Venus (detail) | Oil on canvas, transferred from wood panel | Galleria Sabauda, Turin, lnv. 172

Contemporary American Marine Art: 17th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists

September 9, 2016
by aine
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September 10 through December 2, 2016

Hosted every three years by museums across the U.S., the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) holds a juried competition for the best in contemporary marine art.  ASMA is a non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to recognize and promote marine art and maritime history, and to encourage cooperation among artists, historians, academics, enthusiasts and others engaged in activities relating to marine art.  The Muscarelle Museum of Art kicks off the national tour in conjunction with the First National Marine Art Conference in Williamsburg (September 8-11).

Unique to the Muscarelle display, the Museum will partner with the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) at the College of William & Mary Law School for a series of lectures featuring marine topics ranging from sea level rise, to the Clean Power Plan and the health of the Chesapeake Bay.  Through the First Tuesday Lecture Series, free and open to the public, the Museum will serve as a neutral space for open dialogue about complex coastal resource management issues among a backdrop of more than 120 works of art from the nation’s leading marine artists.

Building the Brafferton: The Founding, Funding and Legacy of America’s Indian School

September 9, 2016
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September 10, 2016 through January 8, 2017    Due to the inclement weather, the Muscarelle will be closed this weekend. We regret that January 6 will be the last day to come and see “Building the Brafferton” exhibition.  However, stay tuned for a forthcoming online version and exhibition catalogue.

Constructed in 1723, the Brafferton Indian School remains a strong visual symbol on the campus of the College of William & Mary. This is the first exhibition to examine the history of the Brafferton within the wider trans-Atlantic networks of trade, politics of church and state, and Great Britain’s colonial enterprise in North America.  New research on the Brafferton connects Indian students from the Pamunkey, Cherokee, Nottoway, and Wyandot tribes, to wider narratives of our shared past.  Historical paintings, engravings, archival documents, and contemporary Native American Art, are assembled to explore the founding, funding, and legacy of one of the nation’s oldest and most esteemed institutions of higher learning.

Curated by Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology and the Muscarelle Museum of Art, and Buck Woodard, Ph.D., American Indian Initiative, Division of Historical Research and Interpretation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Press Release Available Here


Hark Upon a History: The 1929 Journey to England

As a companion exhibition to Building the Brafferton: The Founding, Funding and Legacy of America’s Indian School, Hark Upon a History is dedicated to William & Mary President Julian Alvin Carroll Chandler’s journey to explore and shed light on the English heritage of the College. In the spring of 1929, President Chandler and school architect, Charles Morrison Robinson, set sail for England. The pair were on a mission to investigate the history of the College and the origins of the Brafferton, which up until that point lay forgotten. This exhibition marks the first time that materials pertaining to their journey are on view. Curated by Sydney Stewart, ’16 and Michaela Wright, ’16, Hark upon a History  will be on display in the Herman Graphic Arts Study Room.


Museumscopes: Photography by Massimo Pacifico

April 14, 2016
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April 16 – August 14, 2016

The Muscarelle Museum of Art is pleased to announce the North American premiere of Museumscopes: Photography by Massimo Pacifico,  a colorful exhibition on the surprising theme that laughter, tears, sleeping and dancing happen every day – even in museums.  In his worldwide travels to shoot stories on five continents, renowned Italian photographer Massimo Pacifico discovered along the way that museums are also great places to see people just being themselves.  He focuses his lens to portray, sometimes with humor and always with sensitivity, the expressions and gestures of his fellow visitors as they stand, watch, ignore or mimic, the statues and paintings all around them.

Curators at Work VI

March 4, 2016
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April 16 through August 14, 2016

Our signature series, Curators at Work, returns in its sixth installment and features significant works from the permanent collection as well as exciting recent acquisitions. This annual exhibition provides the opportunity for undergraduate students from the College of William & Mary to serve as curators under the direction of Dr. John T. Spike in his seminar Curating, Collecting and Connoisseurship (INTR 220-01).

Light Works: A Century of Great Photography

February 4, 2016
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February 6, 2016— April 10, 2016

From Eadweard Muybridge’s 19th-century photographic studies of animal locomotion to Richard Misrach’s contemporary chromogenic prints, Light Works  explores the history of photography. Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Curtis, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and many other celebrated photographers are highlighted in this exhibition.  Drawn primarily from the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Light Works   also features works from the Muscarelle Museum of Art permanent collection as well as important loans.

Photo credit: EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE, Animal Locomotion, Man with a Donkey, 1887, collotype.  Collection of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts; Gift of Wm John Upjohn.

Press Release Available Here

Faculty Show 13

May 19, 2015
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September 12, 2015 – January 17, 2016

Recent works of the teaching studio art faculty including visiting instructors and emeriti professors of The College of William & Mary are featured in Faculty Show 13.  This exhibition encompasses a variety of media including ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.  A long-standing collaboration between the Museum and the Department of Art & Art History, Faculty Show 13  includes works from the following artists: William Barnes, David Campbell, Linda Carey, Lewis Cohen, Suzanne Demeo, Michael Draeger, Eliot Dudik, Michael Gaynes, Kathleen Hall, Mike Jabbur, Marlene Jack, Brian Kreydatus, John Lee, Jayson Lowery, Elizabeth Mead, Ed Pease and Nicole M. Santiago.

Press Release Available Here

Curators at Work V

May 3, 2015
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May 2 – August 30, 2015

This exhibition is the culmination of the Curating, Collecting and Connoisseurship seminar taught under the tutelage of Dr. John T. Spike.  Fifth in the series, students have the opportunity to step into the role of exhibition curators as they select prints and drawings from the permanent collection.  The Museum serves as a laboratory for experiential undergraduate learning and, for this exhibition, students research and write the text that document the social and political context of individual works.  The exhibition primarily focuses on new acquisitions and covers a broad spectrum of time periods, styles and media.

Matilda of Canossa and the Origins of the Renaissance

April 25, 2015
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The Muscarelle Museum of Art, in its first collaboration with the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary is pleased to present Matilda of Canossa and the Origins of the Renaissance.  This is the first monographic exhibition in the United States ever dedicated to Matilda, one of the great leaders and women of the Middle Ages.  Curated by Michèle K. Spike, noted biographer of Matilda of Canossa and adjunct professor of law at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, this exhibition will be on view from February 7 to April 24, 2015.

Matilda of Canossa Press Release

Twilight of a Golden Age: Florentine Painting After the Renaissance

February 24, 2015
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April 25, 2015 – January 17, 2016

On view through January 2016, Twilight of a Golden Age: Florentine Painting after the Renaissance, Masterworks from the Haukohl Family Collection provides the opportunity to see some of the finest examples of paintings and objects from the Florentine Baroque period.  Florentine Baroque paintings, dating from the late sixteenth to early eighteenth centuries, utilize vibrant colors and a brilliant use of shadow to portray dramatic scenes wrought with emotion.  The Haukohl Family Collection has been carefully curated by Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl and this exhibition is made possible through his generosity.

Twilight of a Golden Age Press Release