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San Diego Lands a Michelangelo

And much more art from the Italian Renaissance as part of USD's Christ: Life, Death, and Resurrection exhibit

By Sarah Sapeda

San Diego Lands a Michelangelo

San Diego Lands a Michelangelo

For the first time ever, San Diego is hosting a Michelangelo.

The master’s large-scale drawing The Three Crosses  is the centerpiece of the University of San Diego’s Christ: Life, Death, and Resurrection exhibit at its Hoehn Family Galleries.

The sketch, depicting the crucifixion of Jesus and the thieves Gestas and Saint Dismas, is slated to accompany more than 40 other Italian Renaissance drawings and prints on loan from the British Museum from September 13 to December 13, while a dozen others will be on display in a concurrent exhibit at Timken Museum in Balboa Park.

“There’s this natural twinning of the subject matter in this exhibition—the iconography of the birth, life, and death of Christ—with USD and its Catholic identity,” explains Derrick Cartwright, director of university galleries. “Beyond that, what’s really interesting for the community as a whole is what a rare chance this is for people in San Diego to study, encounter, and have an experience in front of works by some of the greatest artists of all time.”

Several of the pieces have never before been on display in Southern California.

One of the rarest, Cartwright says, is by Filippo Lippi—only a handful of drawings by the artist are known to survive. “Someone who’s really excited about early Renaissance art can see something they’d have to struggle hard to find another example of on the West Coast.”

Though the various works employ similar iconography and themes—the Nativity, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection—Cartwright adds that the real marvel is in the artists’ individual styles and techniques. “There’s this intricacy to Renaissance artists’ view of the world that people are going to see. Standing in front of these works of art on a piece of paper that’s been beautifully preserved for 500 years, you can’t help but feel humbled.”

Christ: Life, Death, and Resurrection

Hoehn Family Galleries, USD

September 13–December 13


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