Ask a Curator Day 2014 Recap

Screenshot of the Milwaukee Art Museum Twitter page, @MilwaukeeArt

Screenshot of the Milwaukee Art Museum Twitter page, @MilwaukeeArt

Back in September, the Milwaukee Art Museum participated in International Ask a Curator Day, an online initiative started in 2010 in the UK. The idea? Use social media to open up conversations between visitors and museum staff. This year’s Ask a Curator Day saw an astounding 721 museums from 43 different countries answering visitor questions pretty much around the clock.

Of course, we museum staff do this every day on site and online, but we love that Ask a Curator Day gives us the chance to reach a huge virtual audience from all around the world. After the jump, you’ll find some highlights from our Twitter feed on Ask a Curator Day. Thanks to everyone who tweeted us! Continue reading

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From the Collection–On the Eve of Her Wedding by Antonio Mancini

A number of artists featured in the special exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums are represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the third in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s paintings during the run of the exhibition.

Antonio Mancini (Italian, 1852–1930), On the Eve of Her Wedding, ca. 1882. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. S. S. Merrill M1919.33. Photo by John Glembin.

Antonio Mancini (Italian, 1852–1930), On the Eve of Her Wedding, ca. 1882. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. S. S. Merrill M1919.33. Photo by John Glembin.

In researching a museum’s collection, the story behind the acquisition of an artwork can sometimes be just as interesting as the artwork itself. The Milwaukee Art Museum’s On the Eve of Her Wedding by Antonio Mancini (Italian, 1852-1930) is a great example. Continue reading

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From the Collection–Andrea Locatelli’s Landscapes

A number of artists featured in the special exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums are represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.  This is the second in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s paintings during the run of the exhibition.

Andrea Locatelli (Italian, 1695–1741), Landscape with a River and a Group of Figures Near A Roman Altar, ca. 1730. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William D. Kyle, Sr. M1967.126. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Andrea Locatelli (Italian, 1695–1741), Landscape with a River and a Group of Figures Near A Roman Altar, ca. 1730. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William D. Kyle, Sr. M1967.126. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Imagine it is the early 18th century.  You are an Italian noble and need to decorate your villa.  Who do you hire to make some paintings for you?

For many, the answer would have been Andrea Locatelli (Italian, 1695-1741).  He’s not a household name today, but during his lifetime, Locatelli was famous.  The venerable Colonna family of Rome, who were great art patrons, owned 80 of his paintings!

The Milwaukee Art Museum has a lovely pair of paintings from Locatelli’s late career: Landscape with a River and Group of Figures Near A Roman Altar and Mountainous Landscape with Shepherds and Animals. Continue reading

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From the Collection–Antonio Balestra’s The Meeting of Telemachus and Calypso

A number of artists featured in the special exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums are represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.  This is the first in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s paintings during the run of the exhibition.

Antonio Balestra (Italian, 1666–1740), The Meeting of Telemachus and Calypso, ca. 1700. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Bequest of Eliza Eliot Fitch M1955.3. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

Antonio Balestra (Italian, 1666–1740), The Meeting of Telemachus and Calypso, ca. 1700. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, bequest of Eliza Eliot Fitch M1955.3. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

Active in the very end of the 17th century and the first part of the 18th century, Antonio Balestra was an Italian painter of the “late Baroque.”

What does that mean?  Well, it means that he worked during a time of transition between the theatrical narratives and dramatic light and shadow of the high Baroque (think Caravaggio) and the bright, elegant style called Rococo (think Tiepolo). Continue reading

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Reflections of an Intern: Front Lines of a MOOC

Filming commences in Windhover Hall. Photo by Melissa Marchese

Filming commences in Windhover Hall. Photo by Melissa Marchese

When I told my Alverno College advanced media and journalism instructor that I was looking for an internship, she wasted no time connecting me with Chelsea Kelly, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Manager of Digital Learning. I am not an Art Major or Education Major, but I knew immediately that I wanted to be Chelsea’s digital learning intern. I quickly learned that my CMT (Communication, Management and Technology) Major would definitely guide me for the tasks she had in mind.

I am interning for Chelsea while she is building a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). These courses are available to anyone online, and the Museum received a special grant to develop a course. This one in particular was about getting to look at art in a different way. I know this must be shocking to hear from a Milwaukee Art Museum intern, but growing up my favorite form of art wasn’t actually paintings, sculptures or photography–it was dance. I had very little knowledge of art or its history, which actually made me the perfect candidate for interning for this MOOC: I love museums, but I never knew how to interpret it. Working on this MOOC has made me look at art differently. Continue reading

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