While many exhibitions have shed light on the beauty of Flemish 15th-century painting, and even more have celebrated the glory of Italian Renaissance art, “Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance Painting” will be the first in the United States to explore how Flemish artists helped make the innovative, sophisticated, and beautiful works of the Italian Renaissance possible. With 29 paintings and about six illuminated manuscripts by artists such as Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Pietro Perugino, and Domenico Ghirlandaio drawn from The Huntington’s collections and those of several other institutions in the United States and Europe, the exhibition will mark the first time viewers in the Los Angeles area will be able to see The Huntington’s acclaimed Virgin and Child (ca. 1460) by Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden (ca. 1400–1464) displayed alongside its companion diptych panel, Portrait of Philippe de Croÿ, on loan from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium.
“Face to Face” is co-curated by Catherine Hess, chief curator of European art at The Huntington, and Paula Nuttall, author of From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500 (2004, Yale University Press), the only English-language monograph on the subject. Nuttall’s book reproduces many of the paintings that will be on view.
Bringing together works from Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others, “Face to Face” will juxtapose Flemish and Italian works in thematic groupings, exploring the form of the diptych, the depiction of the face of Christ, the evolution of portraiture, elements of landscape painting, and the virtuosic rendering of forms and textures.