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Bank of America is pleased to be the national sponsor of The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty, on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from February 15 to May 10, 2015.
The Habsburgs offers a rare opportunity to see the exquisite masterpieces and opulent personal belongings of an influential royal family whose reign spanned nearly 600 years, and shaped the world as we know it today. The Habsburgs were one of the principal dynasties of Europe from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. The exhibition showcases important works of art and rare objects from the collection of the Habsburg Dynasty—the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and other powerful rulers who commissioned extraordinary artworks now in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. For American audiences, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to peek inside the chambers of one of the most important imperial art collections in the world. The exhibition, largely composed of works that have never traveled outside of Austria, will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA); the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH); and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
The Habsburgs explores the dramatic rise and fall of the royal family’s global empire, from their political ascendance in the late Middle Ages to the height of their power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the expansion of the dynasty in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to its decline in 1918 at the end of World War I.
Some families have fought, others have intrigued their way to world power; the Habsburgs married their way up. They began with Austria and then married the Netherlands, Burgundy, the duchy of Milan, Sicily and finally Spain, including all its territories in the Americas.
The 93 artworks and artifacts that tell the story include arms and armor, sculpture, Greek and Roman antiquities, court costumes, carriages, decorative art objects, and paintings by such masters as Correggio, Giorgione, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian, and Velázquez. Key masterpieces that have never before traveled to the United States include The Crowning with Thorns (c. 1602/1604) by Caravaggio; A portrait of Jane Seymour (1536), Queen of England and third wife to Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger; and Jupiter and Io (c. 1530/32) by Correggio.
The Habsburgs chronicles the story in three chapters, each featuring a three-dimensional “tableau”—a display of objects from the Habsburgs’ opulent court ceremonies—as context for the other works on view. By bringing together the Habsburgs’ paintings, decorative arts, costumes, and armor, visitors have a rich, tangible, and fascinating sense of the lives and legacies of these important European rulers. The exhibition shows the extraordinarily wide range of the Habsburgs’ collections, including works of Roman antiquity, medieval armory, early modern painting and craftwork, as well as magnificent carriages and clothing.
The first section features objects commissioned or collected by the Habsburgs from the thirteenth through the sixteenth centuries. In this late medieval/early Renaissance period, Habsburg rulers staged elaborate commemorative celebrations to demonstrate power and to establish their legitimacy to rule, a tradition that flourished during the reigns of Maximilian I and his heirs. Works from this era—including sabers and armor, tapestries, Roman cameos, and large-scale paintings—illustrate the significance of war and patronage in expanding Habsburg influence and prestige.
The second and largest section of the exhibition highlights the apex of Habsburg rule, the Baroque Age of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The dynasty used religion, works of art, and court festivities to propagate its self-image and claim to rule during this politically tumultuous time. Paintings by Europe’s leading artists demonstrate the wealth and taste of the Habsburg rulers, while crucifixes wrought in precious metals and gems, as well as sumptuous ecclesiastical vestments, reflect the emperor’s role as defender of the Catholic faith.
The exhibition concludes with works from the early nineteenth century, when the fall of the Holy Roman Empire gave rise to the hereditary Austrian Empire—a transition from the ancien régime to a modern state in which merit determined distinction and advancement. Franz Joseph, who would reign longer than any previous Habsburg, saw the growth of nationalism and ultimately ruled over the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. As heir to the Habsburg legacy—and in the spirit of public education and enrichment—he founded the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1891. Reflecting the modernization of the Habsburg administration, the exhibition ends with a spectacular display of official court uniforms and dresses.
Founded in 1891, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest orchestras. Bank of America has partnered with the CSO for more than a decade, becoming the Global Sponsor in the historic 2010/11 season, when Maestro Riccardo Muti began his tenure as music director. As Global Sponsor, we have embarked on the most significant sponsorship in CSO history, providing unprecedented support for the orchestra’s concerts and events at home and abroad. The CSO’s dynamic season is complemented by performances by the world’s most esteemed artists from all cultures and in all genres.
Major funding for The Met: HD Live in Schools is made possible by Bank of America, with program support provided through a partnership with the New York City Department of Education. This nationwide initiative that provides students, teachers, and administrators with educational resources tied to select live transmissions of Metropolitan Opera performances, will connect with more students and teachers in its seventh season than ever before.
Each opera was chosen based on a combination of factors, including the opera’s applicability to the general curriculum, scheduling with school calendars and entertainment value for young audiences.
Bank of America is the proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall features the world’s finest orchestras, chamber ensembles and recitalists, as well as pop, world and jazz artists, along with new music and special commissions.
Carnegie Hall’s mission is to present extraordinary music and musicians on the three stages of this legendary hall, to bring the transformative power of music to the widest possible audience, to provide visionary education programs, and to foster the future of music through the cultivation of new works, artists, and audiences.
Before Bach celebrates the music of the era before the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1685. From Renaissance madrigals to early Baroque opera, Carnegie Hall brings together an assemblage of artists who make early music come alive for a contemporary audience.
Also this season, Meredith Monk holds the 2014–2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair. Celebrating fifty years since her professional debut in 1964, Monk’s performances with her Vocal Ensemble and special guests feature her influential piano, chamber, orchestral and vocal works.
From the Carnegie Hall Perspectives series, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato collaborates with a range of musical artists from The English Concert and Brentano String Quartet to The Philadelphia Orchestra to perform music of the bel canto era. Another Perspectives series features Anne-Sophie Mutter, a violinist who is dedicated to preserving and creating classical music for the future. Mutter is adding new works for violin to the classical repertoire while also cultivating and promoting new musicians through her foundation.
In homage to popular classics from a more recent era, Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke celebrates Frank Sinatra. Let’s Be Frank brings to the stage The New York Pops and an all-star cast of guest performers including Tony DeSare, Storm Large, Frankie Moreno and Ryan Silverman.
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Eva Klasson was an early student of Christer Strömholm, the first Scandinavian post-war photographer to gain international renown. His work has inspired several generations of Swedish photographers. Forty-three photographs by Klasson from the series Le troisième angle (1976), Ombilic (1977) and Parasites (1978) are being conserved with the support of the Art Conservation Project at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm’s preeminent museum for twentieth- and twenty-first-century art. Twenty-six of the conserved, newly framed photographs by Eva Klasson are on view in the exhibition A Way of Life: Swedish Photography from Christer Strömholm until Today, at the Moderna Museet through February 2015, sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
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