Pompeo Batoni, Italian, Tuscan, 1708-1787, Portrait of Sir Humphry Morice, 1762, Oil on canvas, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1936.43The Age of Pleasure and Enlightenment
August 10, 2013 – February 23, 2014

European art of the 18th century increasingly emphasized civility, elegance, comfort, and informality. During the first half of the century, the Rococo style of art and decoration, characterized by lightness, grace, playfulness, and intimacy, spread throughout Europe. Painters turned to lighthearted subjects, including inventive pastoral landscapes, scenic vistas of popular tourist sites, and genre subjects—scenes of everyday life. Mythology became a vehicle for the expression of pleasure rather than a means of revealing hidden truths. Porcelain and silver makers designed exuberant fantasies for use or as pure decoration to complement newly remodeled interiors conducive to entertainment and pleasure.

As the century progressed, artists increasingly adopted more serious subject matter, often taken from classical history, and a simpler, less decorative style. This was the Age of Enlightenment, when writers and philosophers came to believe that moral, intellectual, and social reform was possible through the acquisition of knowledge and the power of reason. The Grand Tour, a means of personal enlightenment and an essential element of an upper-class education, was symbolic of this age of reason.

The installation highlights the museum’s rich collection of 18th century paintings and decorative arts. It is organized around four themes: Myth and Religion, Patrons and Collectors, Everyday Life, and The Natural World. These themes are common to art from different cultures and eras, and reveal connections among the many ways artists have visually expressed their cultural, spiritual, political, material, and social values.

IMAGE CREDIT: Pompeo Batoni, Italian, Tuscan, 1708-1787, Portrait of Sir Humphry Morice, 1762, Oil on canvas, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1936.43

From Our Collection

Boothe, 1974 Bey, 1996 Albers, 1957 1787, Vernet

Upcoming Events

Jul
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Wed
1:00 pm Tour: Highlights
Tour: Highlights
Jul 30 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Tour: Highlights: Join a docent for an exploration of the collection. Meet by The Museum Shop. Highlights Tours are offered daily at 1 pm, Wednesday [...]
Jul
31
Thu
1:00 pm Tour: Highlights
Tour: Highlights
Jul 31 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Tour: Highlights: Join a docent for an exploration of the collection. Meet by The Museum Shop. Highlights Tours are offered daily at 1 pm, Wednesday [...]
7:00 pm Film: Of Horses and Men
Film: Of Horses and Men
Jul 31 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Film: Of Horses and Men
Film: Of Horses and Men: A quirky comedic drama about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human. 2013. Iceland. 81 [...]
8:30 pm Film: Lovely Louise
Film: Lovely Louise
Jul 31 @ 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Film: Lovely Louise
Film: Lovely Louise: In this comedic drama, a 55 year-old man leads a boring life with his 80 year-old mother, who tells him she gave [...]
Aug
1
Fri
12:00 pm Gallery Talk: Art Traffic
Gallery Talk: Art Traffic
Aug 1 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Gallery Talk: Art Traffic
Allan D’Arcangelo, Here and now, 1963, liquitex on canvas with mirror Gallery Talk: Art Traffic: Edd Russo, Head Registrar, and Mary Busick, Registrar for Loans [...]

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Hours:
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Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
First Thursdays: 11 am – 8 pm

Admission:
Members: Free
Adults: $10
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First Thursdays (from 5-8 pm): $5