That’s Italian

You don’t have to know much about history to have heard of the Italian Renaissance -- you know, the time after the aptly named Dark Ages when Europe got back on a civilization kick. In Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy, opening at noon today at the Denver Art Museum, associate curator Angelica Daneo deconstructs the topic via a whirlwind tour of the artistic capitals of Italy through art, textiles and furniture.

“We often use the term 'Italian Renaissance,' but we should really speak of a Florentine Renaissance, a Sienese Renaissance, a Venetian Renaissance and so on,” says the Italian-born Daneo. “We want our visitors to experience the distinctive character of each city they will visit during this artistic journey, with the rivalries between the cities being not just political, but artistic!”

The point is to remind us that Italy in the 1400s and 1500s didn’t exist as a single country. In its place were dozens of monarchies, republics and city-states, as well as the Papal States, and each had its own set of traditions. The show, which runs through July 31, is a staycation right here in town that goes up and down the Italian peninsula. The DAM is at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; go to www.denverartmuseum.org or call 720-865-5000 for information and tickets.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 10. Continues through July 31, 2011

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia