Houston Museum of Fine Arts showcases never-before-seen European works of art

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Local enthusiasts and connoisseurs of European art can now enjoy an extensive collection that spans from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston unveiled a showcase of works – including pieces from Central and South America – which feature paintings, tapestries, sculptures, liturgical objects and antiquities spanning 500 years in 11 relocated galleries.

Visitors can expect over 200 works that highlight specific areas of achievement in early modern Europe and the viceroyalty of New Spain, including the 16th century Netherlands and Venice , 17th century Spain and its colonies in Central and South America, according to a press release. .

Three galleries trace Spain’s relations in the 17th and 18th centuries and the nation’s relationship with its fledgling colonies.

Highlights include recent acquisitions and unreleased pieces, such as:

  • A miniature portrait of Henry III, King of France, by the famous 16th century court artist Jean de Court. It is believed to be the only surviving work of art bearing the court’s signature.
  • A rare 18th century Mexican folding screen – called a biombo – which dates back to the early 17th century and depicts the cosmopolitan city of Mexico City.

Notably, the exhibit features a recently discovered Florentine Renaissance glazed terracotta tondo never before seen in the United States (a round relief) by Andrea della Robbia entitled The Madonna in Adoration of the Christ Child Surrounded by Angels, with God the Father (1470-75).


Yet another exceptionally rare Florentine Renaissance painted terracotta bust of Christ (c. 1480-1483) by Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea del Verrocchio, the sculptor and mentor of Leonardo da Vinci.

Having acquired significant works over the past few years, the MFAH has “redesigned the display of our European collections to more fully express the history, culture and faith in which these works were originally created and lived” , MFAH Director Gary Tinterow noted in a statement. .

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