Federalist Twofer: Art Nouveau Scotland and Renaissance Spain

This morning, gentle reader, I have two new exhibition reviews of mine to point you towards – one published last week, and one today – looking at the work of two very different, important figures.

For those of you who missed it, my penultimate piece for The Federalist was uploaded this past Thursday. In it, I reviewed a new show at The Walters in Baltimore, on the life and work of architect, artist, and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), and the development of the Glasgow Style of art and design. Although I still find something rather off-putting about a great deal his work, the retrospective did have, in the form of several of his late watercolors, some unexpected highlights that I found very appealing indeed. In fact, if someone were to take on the task, I’d love to see a show dedicated solely to Mackintosh’s late paintings, like the one shown below, so that we could see more of his mesmerizing, highly-detailed views of the south of France, alongside his compositions featuring arrangements of lush flowers and carefully-observed everyday objects.


But wait: there’s more!

You can also head over to The Federalist and read my latest, released today, reviewing the first-ever American exhibition on the great Spanish Renaissance sculptor Alonso Berruguete (c. 1488-1561). The show opened at the National Gallery here in the Nation’s Capital this past weekend, and while nowhere near as large as the Mackintosh retrospective, it will certainly appeal to those interested in sculpture, architecture, and seeing how the Renaissance developed outside of Italy. It will also appeal more specifically to those of you who enjoyed the wildly popular “Sacred Made Real” exhibition of Spanish sacred art in London and Washington some years ago.

Although I was already well-acquainted with Berruguete before seeing the show, having seen a great deal of his stuff in Spain, when looking at his work outside of its usual context it suddenly struck me that it was far more forward-looking than I had previously appreciated. Technically, this is Renaissance art, but it’s clear that in many aspects – its drama, convolutions, and highly decorated surfaces – one could argue that Berruguete was anticipating the development of the Baroque by over a century. It’s his combination of Classical, Gothic, and Moorish, however, unlike anything that came before it, that will stun you if you see the exhibition, like the detail shown below.


Both of these shows will be traveling after they finish their runs in Baltimore and DC, so be sure to check here and here to see if you’ll be able to catch them during their time in the U.S.

If you like either (or both) of these articles, do be so kind as to share your feedback over in the comments section at The Federalist? For some reason the comment section over there tends to turn into a slug fest between commenters arguing about subjects which have little or nothing to do with what I’m writing about, so it would be nice to read some thoughtful feedback/criticism for a change. Many thanks in advance!

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