Historical version 40 of Christ Church Picture Gallery
- Christ Church (Entrance via Oriel Square)
- OX1 1DP
- 1 October – 30 April: Monday to Saturday 10.30am to 1.00pm & 2pm to 4.30pm, Sunday 2pm to 4.30pm : 1 May – 30 September: Monday to Saturday 10.30am to 5pm; Sunday 2pm to 5pm
Christ Church is unique among the Oxford and Cambridge colleges in possessing an important collection of Old Master paintings and drawings, housed in a purpose-built Gallery of considerable architectural interest in itself. The collection consists of some 300 paintings and almost 2000 drawings and is strongest in Italian art from the 14th to the 18th century.
The internationally renowned drawings collection in the Picture Gallery at Christ Church is regarded as one of the most important private collections of Old Master drawings in the country. These small in-house exhibitions are changed about every three months to enable the public to see a varied selection from this part of the collection.
Current Exhibition: 'Neapolitan and Spanish Drawings of the Baroque' 19 February - 15 May 2011'
This exhibition gives an exciting introduction to the variety and vibrancy of Spanish and Neapolitan draughtsmanship. The show comprises of 29 drawings - all from Christ Church’s own collection - spanning the 17th century and beyond. It includes works by artists such as Jusepe da Ribera, Salvator Rosa, Mattia Preti and Luca Giordano.
The art of both these regional schools is much understudied and it has only been in the last years that scholarship and exhibitions have focused on the subject. The reason for this ‘neglect’ lies mainly in the rarity of the objects, a fact that is explained by a different approach to art in which drawing was not essential to express artistic ideas.
During the 16th and 17th centuries Naples and Spain had close political, religious and cultural links enabling an active artistic exchange notwithstanding the impact of the traditional schools such as Florence, Venice and Rome. The meeting of these various currents forged what is now perceived as Spanish and Neapolitan art. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to explore similarities between these schools and offers a chance to study the outcome of these cultural exchanges.
Nevertheless, the variety of approaches to drawing are boldly apparent in this exhibition. The striking works provide bold contrasts to one another as they illustrate the intensity of Neapolitan and Spanish artists' engagement with the representation of classical and Christian subject matter. Jusepe da Ribera’s drawing of Saint Irene in this exhibition displays a rigorous observation of nature combined with subtle theatricality making it one of the most celebrated drawings by the master. A generation later Neapolitan drawing underwent a significant transformation, represented in this exhibition with works by the three leading artists of the city - Luca Giordano, Mattia Preti and Salvator Rosa. Luca Giordano’s little known studies in pen and ink embrace the drama of Hercules' labours; Preti's bold use of chalk and Rosa's rapid pen and ink lines express the fervour of religious themes.
In this way the exhibition provides valuable insight into a still little-known corpus of drawings. It offers a fascinating encounter with 17th century art in Naples and Spain which encompasses the theatricality of the Baroque and the artists’ reflections on
Admission: £3/£2. Free to those who have Bod cards and ArtFund members.