(January 15, 2013)

Meadows Museum begins 2013 with Renaissance works on paper

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Centenary Meadows Museum of Art opens its spring schedule with a special exhibition of Renaissance works on paper. The exhibition includes one of the world's largest prints, The Triumphal Arch of Maximilian I, and is one of only a few copies located in the United States. The Friends of the Algur Meadows Museum will host a preview and reception for the exhibit on Saturday, January 19, 5:30 — 7:30 p.m. in the museum galleries. The event is free and open to the public.

The Triumphal Arch of Maximilian I
The Triumphal Arch of Maximilian I on display at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The Triumphal Arch of Maximilian I is eight by ten feet in size and is composed of more than 150 small prints joined together to create the illusion of a triumphal arch through which royal processions would pass.

The massive work was created for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519) of the Hapsburg dynasty. Maximilian was deeply concerned with the immortalization of his life as a warrior and statesman. Although he wanted to construct an arch of stone similar to those of the Caesars, he lacked the money to do so.

At the time, the woodblock printing process was at a technical and aesthetic peak in the hands of northern European artists such as Albrecht Dürer. Because of his fascination with printmaking and lack of funds, Maximilian engaged Dürer to create a massive triumphal arch of woodblock images on paper. Dürer designed a portion of the images contained in The Arch along with his assistants Wolf Traut and Hans Springinklee as well as the Regensburg artist Albrecht Altdorfer.

Maximilian, who saw the print as an everlasting memorial to himself, dictated the iconography of The Arch to the artists. As such, this monumental print functioned as a billboard for Maximilian I, and today continues to advertise the emperor's accomplishments.

Comprised primarily of print works, this exhibition also includes eight important woodcuts and engraved prints by Dürer. A number of the works in this exhibition were loaned to the Meadows Museum of Art from private collections.

A gallery talk on prints and print collecting by a Shreveport expert is scheduled for Sunday, February 3, at 2:00 p.m. in the Meadows Museum galleries.

For more information and hours of operation, contact the Meadows Museum of Art at 318.869.5169.