UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum


Past Exhibitions

The Adoration of the Magi by Bartolo di Fredi
A Masterpiece Reconstructed
March 2 - May 27

Curated by Bruce Boucher, Director and Francesca Fiorani, Guest Curator and Associate Professor, McIntire Department of Art

The University of Virginia Art Museum and the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) have been granted the opportunity of the loan of a major masterpiece of the Sienese Trecento: the Adoration of the Magi by Bartolo di Fredi. The exhibition will reunite the surviving components of an altarpiece that was arguably Bartolo's great masterwork—the main panel, which has remained in Siena since its completion around 1380, and the portions of the predella from the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg, Germany, and from UVaM.

The exhibition will offer an exceptional occasion for faculty, students, and the community at large to study a major Italian altarpiece, its complex history, its original location, and its missing components. After centuries of disruption, the painting will be reconstituted here and subsequently at MOBIA in New York City. An international symposium on Bartolo di Fredi and Sienese painting of his time will be held to mark the exhibition in April 2012 in Charlottesville.

This exhibition is in partnership with the Museum of Biblical Art, New York, and is made possible through the generous support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, the Robert Lehman Foundation, private donors, Albemarle Magazine, The Hook, and Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book.

Download exhibition label copy (pdf) >

Seven Saints in Adoration by Bartolo di Fredi

Bartolo di Fredi
Italian, c. 1330-1410
Seven Saints in Adoration, c. 1375-1385
Tempera and gold leaf on wood panel,
11 7/8 x 9 7/8 in, 30.16 x 25.08 cm
Gift of Mrs. Daniel W. Evans, 1975.49.1


Patrons' Preview Reception
Thursday, March 1
5:30-7:30 pm
In the Museum

Final Friday Receptions
March 30 & April 27
5:30-7:30 pm
In the Museum

Family Art JAM
Mini Masterpieces in Gouache and Gold Saturday, April 21 & Sunday, April 22
1-3 pm & 3-5 pm
RSVP 434.243.2050

Bartolo di Fredi and the Art of His Time
Friday, April 27
Campbell 153

Schedule >

Saturday Special Tours
by Wolfgang Loseries
April 28

by Bruce Boucher
May 19
2-3 pm
In the Museum

Exhibition Catalogue

Exhibition catalogue
Bartolo di Fredi: The Adoration of the Magi, A Masterpiece Reconstructed
Bruce Boucher and Francesca Fiorani, editors
100 pages, 53 color illustrations
Available March 2012

Exhibition installation

About the exhibition

Bartolo di Fredi and the Art of His Time

Friday, April 27
Campbell 153

Morning session | 9 am – 12:30 pm

The View from Afar
by Hayden Maginnis
Professor Emeritus, McMaster University

This presentation will place Bartolo di Fredi's Adoration of the Magi within the Sienese tradition of landscape depiction while also introducing the artist and the work.

Bartolo di Fredi: Architect of the Cappella del Campo
by Wolfgang Loseries
Researcher, Kunsthistoriches Institut in Florenz-Max-Planck-Institut

The design for the prominent chapel at Siena's major square is among the most beautiful and important medieval architectural drawings of Tuscany. For a hundred years, this large parchment has been the object of art historical and architectural analyses, but its attribution and date remain controversial. Previously unknown documents now provide evidence about the creator, now known to be Bartolo di Fredi, and the exact time when it was designed. The discovered documents reveal a great deal of information both about the stylistic influence of two contemporary buildings in Florence and Pisa on the Sienese drawing, and about its function. The documents deliver a fascinating insight into the practice of public building in the medieval Italian town. The complex interaction between commissioners, architects, craftsmen, experts and artists is revealed in unusual clarity. This paper, which will discuss these topics, will also provide an answer to the question of whether Bartolo di Fredi was also the architect of the gothic Cappella del Campo.

The Early Imagery of Catherine of Siena and the Making of a Civic Saint
by Emily Moerer
Assistant Vice Provost for Upper Division Programs, Temple University

The Commune of Siena's well-documented devotion to the Virgin created the opportunity for Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) to become a powerful patron saint, when, in the fifteenth century, the civic art of Siena was consciously used to assert Catherine's saintly identity and achieve her canonization in 1461. This presentation will analyze the greater context of images of Catherine located strategically in the most important civic spaces of Siena, thereby demonstrating the civic identity of Catherine and providing coherent account of the emergence of her visual cult.

Afternoon session | 2–4 pm

The Toscanelli Altarpiece, or Seeing Sienese Painting through a Glass, Darkly
by Machtelt Israëls
Guest Researcher and Lecturer, University of Amsterdam

In 1908, the Toscanelli altarpiece entered the collection of Bernard and Mary Berenson at Villa I Tatti with an attribution to Pietro Lorenzetti. New research, however, shows the work to be a nineteenth-century configuration of fragments from three different fourteenth-century altarpieces: by Bartolomeo Bulgarini for Pienza, by Niccolò di Segna for Siena, and indeed by Pietro Lorenzetti for Monticchiello. In the nineteenth century, seeking such plausible re-assemblies constituted the beginning of an interest in the original appearance of Sienese polyptychs. These attempts profoundly affected the way fourteenth-century Sienese painting was understood by connoisseurs such as the Berensons. The relevant reconstructions, old and new, will be discussed and seen to distill and create the parameters for the study of Sienese art, then and now.

The Materials of Early Sienese Painting
by Anne Dunlop
Associate Professor, Tulane University

The palette of Trecento painting was a minor chemical and technical nightmare. Surviving written sources on painting are mostly guides to the miseries of the painter's basic materials. Yet these same pigments and metals had been drawn from all over the known world, and they had powerful properties of their own. This presentation will examine the place and meanings of materials within the history of early Sienese art.