Exclusive “Timeless Renaissance” tells story of culture and discovery

From Aug. 13 to Nov. 6, 2011, Willamette University’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem, Ore., will present “Timeless Renaissance: Italian Drawings from the Alessandro Maggiori Collection.” Organized by Professor Ricardo De Mambro Santos, the exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse of Count Maggiori and the historical importance of his collection during the Napoleonic occupation of Italy. The collection was only recently rediscovered in the town of Monte San Giusto and has never been exhibited before outside of Italy.  

De Mambro Santos, with the help of Willamette students, researched the drawings and discovered they were collected by Maggiori, who was attempting to preserve Italian culture by saving some of its Renaissance-style artworks.

The exhibition comprises 74 drawings acquired during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including exquisite drawings by Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), Domenico Zampieri (also known as Il Domenichino, 1581–1641), Andrea Sacchi (1599–1661) and Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665), among many others.

A wide variety of subjects and themes are represented, including animals, mythological themes, religious themes and anatomical studies.

In addition to the drawings on display, the exhibition will be accompanied by text panels, map, photo murals and annotated labels that will help contextualize the collection and highlight its importance to the development of art history as an academic discipline.

De Mambro Santos will give an illustrated lecture about Maggiori Friday, Sept. 9 beginning at 5 p.m. in the Paulus Lecture Hall within Willamette’s College of Law. A preview reception will follow from 6-8 p.m. at the museum. Admission to the lecture is free.

A 128 page book, with an extensive essay by De Mambro Santos and more than 100 color and black and white illustrations will accompany the exhibition and will be available for sale for $29.95.

Gallery talks and teacher workshop

The museum will also present gallery talks each Tuesday afternoon from 12:30-1 p.m. from Sept. 13 through Nov. 1. In addition, student-guided tours of the exhibition will be offered on Sept. 17, Oct. 1, 8, 29 and Nov. 5 beginning at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

In conjunction with the exhibition, education curator Elizabeth Garrison will lead a workshop for teachers Sept. 20, 4-5:30 p.m. Admission to the workshop is free, although advance registration is required. To register, please call (503) 370-6855.

The museum is located at 700 State Street in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University; it's open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Monday, and admission on Tuesday is free.

For more information, please call (503) 370-6855 or visit