Georgia Museum of Art
Sponsored by: Georgia Museum of Art
Contact: Michael Lachowski PR 706-542-4662
Hillary Brown Director of Communications 706-542-4662
“The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection,” small-scale portraits of individual eyes set into various forms of jewelry from late-18th- and early-19th-century England. Accompanied by an iPad app created by the Birmingham Museum of Art, this exhibition presents an up-close experience with these delicate and exceedingly personal works of art. Through Jan. 6.Organized by the Birmingham Museum of Art, this show is the first major exhibition on the little-known subject of lover’s eye jewelry.addition to the skilled artistry with which each of these tiny portraits was painted are enchanting stories of secret romance and love lost.
In 1784, the Prince of Wales (later George IV) secretly proposed to a Catholic commoner and widow named Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert. Because it was highly unlikely that his father, King George III, would agree to the marriage, Mrs. Fitzherbert initially rejected the prince’s proposal and fled to the Continent. Despite their year-long separation, the prince proposed a second time, sending Mrs. Fitzherbert a picture of his own eye in place of an engagement ring.
The prince’s romantic gesture inspired an aristocratic trend for exchanging eye portraits in a wide variety of settings including brooches, lockets, rings and toothpick cases.
Because the eye might only be recognized by persons of the most intimate familiarity, these customized tokens were largely commissioned by clandestine lovers, whose relationships were viewed as illicit or subject to misunderstanding.
The collection from which the exhibition is drawn, put together by David and Nan Skier, is the largest in the world and contains more than 100 objects, both decorative and functional, from simple lockets to lavish rings, each of which features an eye miniature. Although the majority of the works were meant to be worn as jewelry, some were intended to be carried in the form of small boxes.
The Collectors of the Georgia Museum of Art, an upper-level membership group that focuses on collecting art, will organize an exclusive seated dinner with a private tour of the exhibition by Nan Skier on Saturday, Oct. 6. For ticket information, call 706-542-4662.
Many of the painted miniatures in the exhibition were created to memorialize and mourn a loved one who passed away. Tricia Miller, head registrar of the museum, will give a tour titled “Cult of the Dead” on Halloween (Wednesday, Oct. 31) at 2 p.m. Miller will discuss how trends in sentimentality and mourning in late-18th- and early-19th-century England influenced similar trends in the United States, permeating much of American material culture from jewelry to schoolgirl needlework to gravestone imagery and cemetery design.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon, the museum will have Family Day: Eye-Popping Art, a special Family Day related to the exhibition. Family Day is free and open to the public. Families tour the galleries, do an art activity and then create a related craft.
This exhibition is sponsored by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.News release: http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/georgia-museum-of-art-to-exhibit-lovers-eyes/
Georgia Museum of Art