The transcendent quality of light has engaged artists for centuries. This installation drawn from the permanent collection explores literal and metaphoric meanings of illumination. It includes sun-shot landscapes, a gold-leafed Russian icon, a Tiffany lamp, and a curious painting commissioned by the Bituminous Coal Institute, among other works.
In his seventeenth-century painting Virgin and Child with St. Lucy, Italian Baroque painter Giovanni Andrea Donducci explores a traditional theme of religious enlightenment. By contrast, Rockwell Kent’s 1945 Baker of the Bread of Abundance was intended to extol the benefits derived from coal in a work that is atypical of both the artist’s modernist style and his left-wing politics. The French symbolist painter Maurice Denis captures a sublime moment at the end of a day when the sun spreads gleaming gold over the surface of a bay in his 1891 Breton Landscape. Closer to home, shafts of light create a path through a Kentucky scene in Judy Wells’ In the Arbor.
Rockwell Kent, Baker of the Bread of Abundance, from the series Bituminous Coal Institute, circa 1945, oil on canvas.
Long-term loan from the Department of Mining Engineering, University of Kentucky.
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