Gustav Bauernfeind (German, 1848–1904), Jaffa, Recruiting of Turkish Soldiers in Palestine, 1888, oil on canvas, 58 1/2 x 110 1/4 in. © Dahesh Museum of Art

The Huntsville Museum of Art will present a stunning exhibition in collaboration with the Dahesh Museum of Art in New York City. Beauty, Passion, and Bliss: 19th Century Masterworks from the Dahesh Museum of Art features an outstanding selection of paintings and sculptures that embody the European academic tradition in the 19th century.

François-Joseph Navez (Belgian, 1787–1869), The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth, 1823, oil on canvas, 53 15/16 x 42 1/8 in. © Dahesh Museum of Art

Originating in Italy in the 16th century, the European academic tradition was based on learning to draw the human figure while adhering to principals of ideal beauty epitomized by Classical and Renaissance art. Nearly every city in Europe developed an academy, though the most important of the modern period was the French Academy. Following the Academy’s path would give hopeful artists the right of entry to a magical world of fame, honors, awards, commissions, and an opportunity to become a member of an elite circle that exerted all-powerful influence over the fine arts in France.

Drawn from the rich collection of the Dahesh Museum of Art, this exhibition features a surprisingly wide range of themes and styles. There are religious and mythological paintings, considered the highest form of art at the time. There are examples of the ways artists transformed historical themes into intimate and detailed genre scenes in order to appeal to wealthy and middle-class European and American collectors. Also well-represented are works in Orientalism, which are highly popular images of the Middle East and North Africa that freely commingled reality and fantasy.

Beauty, Passion, and Bliss opens at the Huntsville Museum of Art on March 27, 2o22 and closes on July 3, 2022. The exhibition will be on display in the Huth, Boeing and Salmon galleries of the Museum and will be included with the general price of admission. Admission can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here. The exhibition is made possible by presenting sponsor The Jurenko Foundation.

Prior to the opening of Beauty, Passion, and Bliss, there will be a lecture and preview party on March 26, 2022 at 6 p.m. David Farmer, an art historian and the current Director of Exhibitions at the Dahesh Museum of Art, will speak about the practice and development of art academies in Paris and Antwerp during the 19th century. Following his lecture, guests will enjoy an exclusive first look at the exhibition. A selection of fine wines and delicious canapés, catered by Chef Narvell, will be served. Tickets are $50 for Museum Members and $75 for Non-Members. They can be purchased on the museum’s website here.