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Exhibition Preview: Gods and Heroes: Ancient Legends in Renaissance Art

CMA's next exhibition, Gods and Heroes: Ancient Legends in Renaissance Art opens this Sat, 8/26 in gallery 101!

Ancient gods and goddesses, daring heroes, and magnificent rulers star in this exhibition of drawings and prints by Renaissance artists. Literally meaning rebirth, the term Renaissance describes a period of renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman knowledge, literature, and art in Europe during the 1400s and 1500s.

As Renaissance artists endeavored to emulate and surpass renowned ancient masters, they studied antique sculpture and architecture, using them as models in the portrayal of the human body, classical myths, and historical events. Artists also adapted ancient legends to create moral and political allegories, and depicted Renaissance royalty in the guise of ancient rulers.

The exhibition includes engravings of Raphael’s Apollo on Parnassus and Michelangelo’s Fall of Phaeton, a frieze of chiaroscuro woodcuts reproducing Andrea Mantegna’s Triumph of Caesar, and a group of prints dedicated to the ever-popular hero Hercules.

See works from the show below!

The Fall of Phaeton, mid-1500s. Nicolas Beatrizet (French, c. 1515–1565) after Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475–1564). Engraving; 41.9 x 29 cm. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Zinser, 1965.458.

Apollo on Parnassas, c. 1517–20. Marcantonio Raimondi (Italian, 1470/82–1527/34) after Raphael (Italian, 1483–1520). Engraving; 35.5 x 46.9 cm. Gift of the Print Club of Cleveland, 1963.231.

Battle of the Nudes, 1470s–80s. Antonio del Pollaiuolo (Italian, 1431/32–1498). Engraving; 42.4 x 60.9 cm. Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund, 1967.127.

Henri II, King of France, at the Age of 28, 1547. Nicolo della Casa (French, active Italy, c. 1543–1548). Engraving; 41.3 x 29.3 cm. In memory of Ralph King, gift of Mrs. Ralph King, Ralph T. Woods, Charles G. King, and Frances King Schafer, 1946.308.

Venus and Cupid. Jan Saenredam (Dutch, 1565–1607) after Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617). Engraving; 20.8 x 14.2 cm. John L. Severance Fund, 1993.205.2.

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