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Smith College Museum of Art, Music

March 4 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

Smith Choir Chamber Singers: Music Inspired by the exhibition “Brought to Life”

The Smith College Chamber Singers present a live performance of music inspired by works of art on view in the exhibition Brought to Life: Painted Wood Sculpture from Europe, 1300–1700. Exhibition curator Danielle Carrabino will present a short introduction about the relationship between the visual and performing arts followed by selections of period music performed by the Smith College Chamber Singers including works by Hildegard of Bingen, Guillaume DuFay, and Antoine Busnois.

This program is free and open to the public. It will take place in-person in the Brown Fine Arts Center atrium/ Boeckman Sculpture Court, which is adjacent to SCMA’s first floor level. This space is wheelchair and mobility-aid accessible via a ramp from the street level. Seating will be available for use during the program and presenters voices will be amplified during the presentation. If you have any questions about accessibility or language assistance at the Museum or would like to request an accommodation, please contact us at [email protected]

Brown Fine Arts Center atrium/ Boeckman Sculpture Court, adjacent to SCMA’s first floor level

Registration requested: https://bit.ly/3YDmlpd 
Capacity for this program is limited due to space constraints.

Brought to Life: Painted Wood Sculpture from Europe, 1300–1700

September 16, 2022–August 6, 2023
Brought to Life logo text with green branch and a detail of a polychrome piece with many angels with the same face

This exhibition investigates the materials, techniques and reception of painted wood sculpture in Europe between the 13th and the 18th centuries. Polychrome (multicolored) wood sculptures are today recognized as art objects, but at the time they were made, viewers interacted with the sculptures as if they were alive. Most of the works on view here represent sacred figures from Christianity, and their lifelike appearance was central to their function as objects of prayer and devotion. Whether located in a church or a home, the sculptures were part of a multisensory experience. They were often dimly lit by candlelight. Worshippers would have touched, held or kissed them. The air around them may have been filled with the sounds of music and the fragrance of incense. The exhibition aims to recreate elements of this original viewing experience.

To make these objects, teams of specialized artists in workshops collaborated to intricately carve blocks of wood and add paint and gilding (gold decoration). Limewood, walnut and oak were primarily used, which were readily available and relatively easy to carve. Wood also had religious meaning, symbolizing humility and regeneration. Many carvings were part of larger, more complex ensembles. Today, sections of the original sculptures are often damaged or lost, but conservation technology allows us to learn about how they were crafted and may have once appeared

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Smith College Museum of Art
20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace
Northampton, MA 01063
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