Ah, The Arts! Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master

An exhibition featuring the works of Federico Barocci — Renaissance Master — opened Oct. 21 at the Saint Louis Art Museum. We were busy opening weekend and, well, with the holidays and whatnot we never made it to the exhibit. It closes next weekend and we’ll be out of town next weekend and since The Wife loves this kind of thing we bundled up and made our way to Forest Park this afternoon.

As Art Museum members we are granted two tickets to all exhibits. However, there are three of us. Since The Son is more a Jackson Pollock than a Renaissance type, we decided to go in stages with one of us walking the halls with him while the other took in the art. I decided to go first as it would only take me about 10 minutes to walk the halls while it would take The Wife a good hour to soak it all in. She has to read everything, you know.

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The exhibition features more than 130 works by the 16th century Italian artist. As you might expect from an Italian Renaissance master, it mostly covers the life of Jesus Christ and mother Mary. There are paintings of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus having a picnic; the Nativity; the Last Supper; the Crucifixion. That sort of thing. There were also some portraits and one piece referring to the Trojan War.

The paintings are impressive — or as The Wife put it when she walked out of the hall — “Wow.” The exhibit also includes several sketches and close-up detail pieces that show the process behind the paintings. The colors in several of the paintings really pop out.

After I breezed through the hall I rejoined The Son and we took a walk through the entire museum while The Wife checked out the exhibit. It was quite interesting. Usually when we come to the art museum we only go to the new exhibit hall and then the room where they keep the Van Goghs and the Monets. Away from The Wife we were now free to examine the whole joint.

Did you know there are mummies at the art museum? And suits of armor and all kinds of swords and guns and even an ancient crossbow? They keep all the cool stuff on the bottom floor. That’s also where the keep all the odd furniture. It was pretty neat. Upstairs is the American art and the modern art, but the big hall was empty as they were preparing for a new show.

We had a good walk for about an hour. Walking through an art museum is much more interesting than walking around a track for an hour, which is usually how we spend our weekend afternoons. We had just finished the tour and taken a restroom break when The Wife emerged from the Barocci gallery with a big smile on her face.

All in all, a very cultured and fun way to spend a dreary Sunday in January.

Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master runs through Jan. 20 at the Saint Louis Art Museum. http://www.slam.org/

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