New Mexico Museum of Art

New Mexico Museum of Art presents "The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo"

November 01, 2019

Daniel Zillmann

(Santa Fe, NM) - This winter the New Mexico Museum of Art will host The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo on view January 25, 2020 – April 19, 2020. This traveling exhibition of more than fifty drawings and prints, organized by the British Museum from their extensive collection, tells the story of Italian art beginning with the Renaissance and ending in the 18th century through an examination of how artists have depicted the saga of Christ.

With works from artists including Michelangelo, Fra Bartolommeo, Parmigianino, and Fra Filippo Lippi this exhibition is a survey of over 400 years of Italian art history. “It is a special treat to experience the work of Renaissance masters like Michelangelo that rarely make it to the States right here in Santa Fe” commented Christian Waguespack, Curator of 20th Century Art at the New Mexico Museum of Art. “The opportunity to share these historic Italian treasures with our local audience helps us fulfill part of the museum’s mission to bring the art of the world to New Mexico.”

The exhibition focuses on the three major stages of Christ’s life: his incarnation, in the form of the Nativity; his Crucifixion; and finally the Resurrection, exploring the different ways that artists envisioned these moments. During the period covered by this exhibition, religious themes were the prevailing subject matter for a vast majority of artists. Patrons such as the Catholic Church or private devotees often prescribed the religious narratives they wanted, but for artists reinterpreting conventional biblical stories in innovative ways was an opportunity to prove their skill.

“You certainly don’t need to be Catholic, religious, or spiritual to enjoy the artworks in this exhibition,” explained Waguespack. “These prints and drawings stand alone as testaments to human skill, artistic refinement, and imaginative innovations that have come to define the Italian Renaissance in the popular imagination. This exhibition is as much a story about art in Italy as it is the life of Christ.”

This selection of artworks, beginning circa 1440 and ending in 1829, charts the evolving depictions of Christ’s story, while also providing a broad overview of the functional purposes, techniques, and major artistic trends of the era. This group of images also traces the role of prints and drawings during this period which served mainly as preparation for larger paintings or objects of personal devotion.

The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo was curated by Hugo Chapman, Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum and one of the world’s leading authorities on Michelangelo’s drawings, and Sarah Vowles, Hamish Swanston Curator of Italian and French Prints and Drawings. This exhibition brings together 53 prints and drawings selected from the museum’s unparalleled graphic collection of more than 50,000 drawings and two million prints dating from the fifteenth century to today. New Mexico Museum of Art will be the second venue to experience this traveling exhibition, which opened in San Diego in September.


Related Programs

An opening reception will take place Friday, January 24, 2020 from 5 to 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

A lecture by Hugo Chapman, curator of The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo and Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art.


About the New Mexico Museum of Art

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents. Programs and exhibits are supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its generous donors.

Founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Art has been presenting innovative arts programming in downtown Santa Fe for more than a century.  At its founding, the museum collected and exhibited artworks by noted artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide array of exhibitions and a significant collection featuring work from the world’s leading artists. Today, as at its founding, the Museum of Art strives to bring the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation Exhibitions Development Fund and the Fund for Museum Education. 

107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, just off the downtown Plaza in Santa Fe, NM 87501.   24 Hr. Recorded Message: (505) 476-5072; Front desk: (505) 476-5063 Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Events, news releases, and images about activities at New Mexico Museum of Art and other in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

Related Photos

The Nativity
The Adoration of the Magi
The Three Crosses
The Crucifixion (Castiglione)
The Descent from the Cross
Study for the Salvator Mundi
Design for a chapel decoration with the Resurrection and two prophets
The Incredulity of St Thomas
The Crucifixion (Cornelis Cort)
The British Museum

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