The MacKenzie Art Gallery proudly embraces its role as the caretaker of a remarkable collection of Italian art in its forthcoming exhibition The Multiple Lives of Paintings: European Painting 1500–1800. This exhibition, built on new research and unexpected discoveries, unravels connections between artists and collections from across the world.

Curated by MacKenzie Art Gallery Head Curator Timothy Long and Sapienza University of Rome art historian Dr. Francesco Freddolini, this exhibition explores the rich histories of twenty-two early modern paintings from the esteemed University of Regina Collection. The presence of these old masters works, many personally acquired by the Gallery’s namesake, Norman MacKenzie, further enhances their significance.

Through meticulous research and curation, this exhibition unveils new discoveries for a number of the selected paintings. These findings not only deepen our understanding of the intricate and diverse lives of these artworks but also shed new light on their historical significance. Head Curator Timothy Long expresses his enthusiasm, stating, “The early modern paintings in the MacKenzie collection have enjoyed rich and varied lives over the past five hundred years. We are particularly excited to share new research that has restored the identities of several works, including a lost gem of the Italian Renaissance.”

In an astonishing revelation, a small oil painting of Christ in the Garden of Gethsamane, long mistaken as the work of Italian painter Titian, has been recently identified as the work of a contemporary, Battista Zelotti. Though famous in Venice in his day, Zelotti’s legacy has suffered centuries of neglect due to an error in the recording of his name by the biographer Vasari. The identification of this painting— prompted by the extraordinary golden cloak of the Apostle Peter—has united international research efforts, restoring the rightful recognition of this
underappreciated master.

Marking the fourth installment in a series of year-long permanent collection exhibitions, The Multiple Lives of Painting is organized around four themes—production, reproduction, collecting, and research— presenting a comprehensive exploration of a painting’s existence. Through case studies accompanied by video animations, visitors will gain insights into the identities and motivations of producers, the reasons behind copy production, the indispensable role of collectors, and the exciting possibilities opened by digital research. These experiences will breathe life into the paintings, allowing visitors to appreciate their long and intricate journeys.

The exhibition will be on view from June 24, 2023, to June 23, 2024, in the University of Regina and Peggy Wakeling Galleries at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Learn more about the exhibition here.

In addition to the physical exhibition, an accompanying online exhibition will be launched this fall, enabling art enthusiasts worldwide to embark on a virtual exploration of the exhibition and its compelling narratives.

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