Art in Town

Campus Arts

Art In Trenton

Art by the River

Area Museums

Art in the Workplace

Corrections or additions?

This article by Phyllis Maguire was prepared for the December 5,

2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

A Holy Mother and Child

You can go to a second floor gallery at the


Museum of Art to see Italian painter Lorenzo Costa’s small but


image of "Virgin and Child." Or you can simply go to your

mailbox. Costa’s painting, created circa 1490, is being featured this

Christmas season in about 800 million reproductions as this year’s

choice of the U.S. Postal Service for its holiday stamp.

The tradition of issuing a "Madonna and Child" postage stamp

for the Christmas season began in 1966, when a painting by Flemish

master Hans Memling was chosen for a first-class stamp — which

then cost five cents. The tradition has continued almost every year

since, with images of mother and child chosen from collections


American museums. The choice of Costa’s painting this year was


gratifying, says Joseph Rishel, the Philadelphia Museum’s curator

of European art, because the museum is also celebrating its 125th


The Madonna and Child genre grew out of a long tradition of


portraiture, Rishel explains. But in Byzantine art from earlier


Mary and Jesus were icons, with a mature-looking yet miniature-sized

Christ perched on his mother’s knee, the two of them posed


on ornate thrones and adorned with elaborate halos. The mood of


depictions was monumental, the divine magnificence of the paintings’

subjects rendered in a riot of precious gold.

That gave way in the Middle Ages to more natural-looking, if still

highly stylized, depictions. By the 1200s, the Mother and Child had

become exactly that — a recognizable young woman holding a


infant or toddler. The artistic shift away from iconography was


tied into the changing notions of women," says Rishel.

"Instead of this monumental formalism, you see the woman as this

central image, embodying all the importance of maternity," he

says. "It’s the whole concept of boys and their mothers, the


ability to protect and nurture — all of which becomes one of the

most powerful images in Western art."

But in early medieval paintings, Mary and her child are draped in

rich robes, set in complicated landscapes of turreted castles or


with blooming roses and lilies that symbolized the Virgin’s charity

and chastity. And the two are typically surrounded by a celestial

entourage, angels with harps and trumpets, or a gathered host of


saints, a divine gloss given to what often looks like a portrait of

a young aristocrat, posing among her court with her child.

The medieval period gave way to Costa’s era: that of the High


a time when artists chose to depict the full complexity of human


rather than the monumental or mannered. Costa has made his Mother

and Child (in close-up, no less) the only images in the painting.

All the material trappings — of wealth, power, majesty, and divine

consorts — have fallen away, while the subjects’ divinity is only

suggested by halos of the thinnest filigree.

Instead of celestial splendor, we are drawn into a painted snapshot

of a private, human moment. Mary’s unadorned blue cloak is set against

a dark background, while her strong hands support her baby as he


on a gray parapet. (This wall and the child’s lower legs have not

been included in the postage stamp). Although his right hand reaches

back to clutch the cloth around his mother’s neck, the baby’s solemn

gaze rests on something outside the frame, his attention already drawn

far from the circle of his mother’s arms.

Mary seems hardly more than a child herself, studying her son with

an expression that seems, in our Prozac-steeped age, to be a


that borders on depression.

"She is serene, but she is melancholy," Rishel confirms.


other tradition that has evolved by this time is that Mary is wise

and all-knowing. Even though it’s a sweet image, behind this innocent

moment is the horrible premonition that she knows her son is doomed.

The image of mother and child includes what is to come — the other

great image of Christianity which is the Crucifixion, where this baby

grows up only to be killed."

One of the enchantments of the High Renaissance, Rishel

continues, is "this wonderful poetic centering, this classical

moment in image-making and imagination that moves freely between the

religious and the secular." Another of the era’s delights is the

caliber of its artists, including da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Yet the period lasted only one generation, from the 1490s into the

1510s, Rishel says. The Mother and Child artistic tradition later

swung back to the ornate in the Baroque period and the conspicuous

splendor of the Counter Reformation.

Although not in the same league as Leonardo da Vinci, Costa shared

his contemporaries’ sensibilities. While both da Vinci and


left Florence for Rome — "which was becoming the New York

of the time," says Rishel — Costa (who was born in Ferrara

in 1460) spent part of his career in Bologna. He later moved to Mantua

and worked as a court painter until his death in 1535. He is best

known for altarpieces, several of which remain in Bologna, for his

"Allegories" in the Louvre, and "The Concert" in


National Gallery. Philadelphia’s "Virgin and Child" is a rare

example of his work in American collections.

The painting is part of a collection created by John C. Johnson, a

Philadelphia legal luminary who amassed what Rishel describes as a

"great collection," including excellent contemporary paintings

as well as Renaissance works. Upon his death in 1917, Johnson left

more than 1,200 paintings to the Philadelphia Museum.

This is the second time that a work of art from the Philadelphia


has been chosen to grace an American stamp. In 1998, a detail of


Duchamp’s 1912 "Nude Descending a Staircase," which belongs

to the museum, became part of the Postal Service’s "Celebrate

the Century" program.

— Phyllis Maguire

The "Virgin and Child" Christmas stamp is being

featured at post offices everywhere. The Philadelphia Museum of Art

is located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street in


Admission is $10 for adults; $7 for seniors and teenagers; children

under 12 are free. For museum hours and directions, call 215-763-8100

or visit

Top Of Page
Art in Town

Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, 609-924-7206.


to Abutilon Theophrasti et al," a show of ceramics by Connie


Gallery is open by appointment during school hours. To December 21.

Anne Reid Art Gallery, Princeton Day School, The Great

Road, 609-924-6700. Weavings, ceramics, paintings, watercolors, and

woodcarvings by the artists of Mexico’s Oaxaca region. Home to the

Zapotec Indians. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Demonstration and sale Saturday, December 15.

Princeton Jewish Center, 435 Nassau Street, 609-921-0100.

"Gilada Africana: An Exhibition of Lap Quilts and Wall Hangings

by Mo Fleming." Open Sunday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To

January 2.

Williams Gallery, 16-1/2 Witherspoon Street, 609-921-1142.

"A Far Eastern Perspective: Windows to a Vibrant Culture"

featuring printmakers Susumu Endo, Margaret K. Johnson, Yoshikatsu

Tamekane, and Hamanishi Katsunori. Gallery hours are Tuesday to


11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To December 22.

Top Of Page
Campus Arts

Art Museum, Princeton University, 609-258-3788.


of Stone: Roman Sculpture in the Art Museum" and "Pliny’s

Cup: Roman Silver in the Age of Augustus;" to January 20. Open

Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free

tours of the collection every Saturday at 2 p.m. Also "Camera

Women," a selective survey of the history of photography from

the perspective of the woman photographer, organized by Carol

Armstrong. Also

"Contemporary Photographs." Both shows to January 6.

Firestone Library, Milberg Gallery, Princeton University,

609-258-3184. "Not for Myself Alone: A Celebration of


Writers," the debut show for the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Collection

of Jewish-American Writers. A two-volume catalog accompanies the


Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. On view to April 21, 2002.

The exhibit ranges from the early 19th century to the present day

and includes Yiddish-language writers as well as writers in English.

The earliest writer represented is Rebecca Gratz; other 19th-century

authors include Emma Lazarus, Isaac Leeser, Nathan Meyer, Penina


Mordecai M. Noah, and Isaac Meyer Wise.

Princeton University, Firestone Library,


In the lobby: "The Japanese Print," an exhibit curated by

Alfred Bush. To January 31.

Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20

Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Unlimited Possibilities: Jacob


Works on Paper, 1950 to 2000." Landau, who gave a gallery talk

on November 9, died on Saturday, November 24. Gallery hours are Monday

to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. To



Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center, Route 206,

Lawrenceville, 609-895-5589. "Leland Bell: Works from the 1950s

to 1991," an exhibition of works by the New York School artist

who died in 1991. "Bell was a powerful artist who clearly


the role of tradition in art, particularly contemporary art. Bell

strongly affected a younger generation of artists, many of whom became

his close friends," says curator Deborah Rosenthal. Gallery hours

at Monday to Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Friday to Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.

To December 11.

College of New Jersey, Art Gallery, Holman Hall, Ewing,

609-771-2198. "The Political is the Personal: Perspectives from

the Latin American Diaspora," images by Elia Alba, Edouard Duval

Carrie, Eugenio Espinosa, Marina Gutierrez, Gloria Rodriguez, Freddy

Rodriguez, and Juan Sanchez. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday,

noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. To



Gallery at Mercer County College, Communications Center,

West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Object Values"


photography of MCCC alumnus Eric T. Kunsman and Princeton artist Susan

Hockaday. Gallery talk December 12. On view Tuesday to Thursday, 11

a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday 6 to 8 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m. To



Area Galleries

Firehouse Gallery, 8 Walnut Street, Bordentown,


"Giant Exhibit of Miniature Art" features more than 200 works

by 25 artists and featuring Florida artist Peggie Hornbrook. Gallery

hours are Wednesday 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday mornings, and by

appointment. To February 1.

Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell, 609-333-8511.

"Small Works, Perfect Gifts," a holiday show by gallery


Vivian Abbot, Jay Anderson, Marilyn Anderson, DF Connors, Heinz


Jay Goodkind, Ed Greenblat, Rhoda Kassof-Isaac, David H. Miller, and

Carol Yam. Open Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. To

December 23.

Montgomery Cultural Center, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery

Road, 609-921-3272. Benefit Holiday Sale of paintings, drawings,


photographs by the Creative Artists Guild. Open Tuesday to Friday,

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To December 23.

Also "Celebration in Paint" featuring artists of the Raritan

Valley Arts Association; to December 28.

Morpeth Gallery, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell,


Betty Curtiss, plein air paintings in oil of the barns and bovines

of the Skillman Dairy Farm. Also still life paintings from the


Princeton neighborhood, especially the fish market. Gallery is open

Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To

December 23.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. The 27th annual juried members show,

juried by Lynne Allen, director of the Rutgers Center for Innovative

Print and Paper. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m.

to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To December 21

Top Of Page
Art In Trenton

Artworks, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436.


Hill: Art from the Hill," an exhibition celebrating Mill Hill

residents and their artwork. Works in all media by a group that


Ann and Jim Carlucci, Victoria Cattanea, Peter Crandall, Andre


Lisa Fullemann, Pierre Jaborska, Lisa and Peter Kasabach, and many

others. Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.

To December 15.

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park,


"The Three M’s: Marge, Marguerite, and Molly," featuring works

by Trenton artists Marge Chavooshian, Marguerite Dorenbach, and Molly

Merlino. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To January 6.

Extension Gallery, 60 Ward Avenue, Mercerville,


"249 Years of Sculpture," a theme show by school staff and

apprentices featuring works by Emily Fleisher, Jack Gibbons, LaRue

Harding, Dennis Peyser, Zachary Orcutt, and Clifford Ward. Monday

to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To December 13.

Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Fall/Winter Exhibition. Open Tuesday through Sunday,

10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday is Members Day. Adult admission

is $4 Tuesday through Thursday; $7 Friday and Saturday; and $10


Annual memberships start at $45. To February 24.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton,


"George Washington and the Battle of Trenton: The Evolution of

an American Image," an exhibition that documents the historic

context of the American Revolution, the "Ten Crucial Days"

of the Trenton campaign that was the turning point, and the subsequent

commemoration of George Washington’s heroic image by American artists.

To February 24.

Also "American Indians as Artists: The Beginnings of the State

Museum’s Ethnographic Collection," to December 15. "Natural

Selections: Sculpture by Elaine Lorenz," to December 30. "Art

by African-Americans in the Collection," to August 18, 2002.

"Images of Americans on the Silver Screen," to April 14, 2002.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday

noon to 5 p.m. Website:

On extended view: "New Jersey’s Native Americans: The


Record"; "Delaware Indians of New Jersey"; "The Sisler

Collection of North American Mammals"; "Of Rock and Fire";

"Neptune’s Architects"; "The Modernists"; "New

Jersey Ceramics, Silver, Glass and Iron"; "Washington Crossing

the Delaware."

Top Of Page
Art by the River

Coryell Gallery, 8 Coryell Street, Lambertville,


Winter Exhibition features Albert Bross Jr. and Vincent Ceglia.


hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To January 6.

Gratz Gallery, 30 West Bridge Street, New Hope,


"Crilley 2002," an exhibition of new oils by Joseph Crilley.

Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday,

noon to 6 p.m. To January 6.

Paintings of Italy, England, and Nova Scotia, as well as Bucks and

Hunterdon County, are included in the show. Many of the works depict

familiar country scenes, bustling local street scenes, and


landmarks such as the New Hope-Ivyland Train Station. Crilley’s new

non-objective paintings also bring a new element to his broad and

capable range of expression.

Hanga, 12 West Mechanic Street, New Hope, 215-862-7044.

James T. Lang, lithographs, colographs, and mixed-media works on


in the Artworks Building. Gallery is open noon to 9 p.m. daily.

Old English Pine, 202 North Union Street, Lambertville,

609-397-4978. "Apropos," Malcolm Bray’s seventh annual show

of innovative contemporary painting and sculpture. Artists include

Rachel Bliss, Malcolm Bray, Jacques Fabert, Michael Hale, Diane


Bonnie MacLean, Dolores Poacelli, Barry Snyder, Patricia Traub, and

Annelies van Dommelen. Hung upstairs above the antique showroom, show

is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to December 31.

Riverrun Gallery, 287 South Main Street, Lambertville,

609-397-3349. Myles Cavanaugh, "The Cigar Box Theater," a

solo exhibit of wooden boxes depicting three-dimensional scenes with

mechanical, moving parts inspired by Calder’s Circus. Gallery is open

daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Tuesday. To December 30.

Cavanaugh says he enjoys the interactive quality of these dioramas.

"The viewer becomes part of the story," he says, " by

manipulating the figures and creating relationships between the


That psychological element causes people to continue to think about

the pieces." His gritty urban settings include a seedy motel room,

a walk-up apartment, and a barber shop.

Top Of Page
Area Museums

Hunterdon Museum of Art, Lower Center Street, Clinton,

908-735-8415. "Degrees of Figuration," a diverse exploration

of the human figure by five artists: Bill Leech, Tom Nussbaum, Keary

Rosen, Linda Stojak, and Charles Yuen. Also "Frank Sabatino,"

abstract wall sculptures created from rare woods and found objects.

And "Karl Stirner," welded iron abstract sculpture. Museum

hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 6.

Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism in


Painting, 1950 to 2000," an exhibition featuring the work of


recognized realist artists and educators who were born and trained

in Pennsylvania, or who spent their professional careers there.


artists include Diane Burko, Sidney Goodman, Alice Neel, Philip


Nelson Shanks, Andy Warhol, Neil Welliver, and Andrew Wyeth. Open

Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m.

to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m. $6. To January 6.

Also: "Taking Liberties: Photographs of David Graham." The

Bucks County photographer, sometimes called a


has worked for 20 years exploring the nation’s heartland with his

view camera, and lovingly recording the creative and offbeat ways

that Americans mark their territory; to January 27. "Bucks


Children," paintings, prints, collages, and sculpture by students

of Council Rock School District. To December 31.

Zimmerli Art Museum, George and Hamilton streets, New

Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Exhibitions include "Robert Motherwell:

Abstraction as Emphasis," to December 9. "Mother Goose’s


Original Illustrations for Children’s Books from the Rutgers


to December 9. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to

4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission $3 adults;

under 18 free; museum is open free to the public on the first Sunday

of every month. Spotlight tours every Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m.

Continuing exhibitions include "Japonisme: Highlights and Themes

from the Collection," ongoing.

Top Of Page
Art in the Workplace

Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters Gallery, One Johnson

& Johnson Plaza, New Brunswick, 732-524-6957. "Nature as


watercolor paintings by Princeton artist Nancy Lee Kern based on


motifs and classical Greek mythology. By appointment only. To December


Kern grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and trained at the Maryland


the Albright Museum, and the Art Students League, New York. From


and etchings to larger works based on vast terrain and dramatic skies,

Kern’s works have featured nature as a central theme. "Nature

has served me well as an inspiration and a passion," she says.

"This spirit continues to flow in the brilliance of


Previous Story Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments