2023 Partnerships and Events
Public Tour of
Mr. Pergolesi's Curious Things:
Ornament in 18th-Century Britain
with curator Julia Siemon
Ornament Design, Tripod and Roman Standards, 1776
Pen and ink, brush and watercolor over graphite on laid paper; 19 in. × 13 ½ in.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Gift of an Unknown Donor, 1980-32-1443
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institute.
January 20, 2023; 1:30 pm
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street, New York, New York 10128
No registration is required for this event
In this guided exhibition tour by exhibition curator Julia Siemon you will encounter fanciful drawings and prints by Michel Angelo Pergolesi, an Italian-born artist whose professional specialty, in his words, was "the ornaments of the ancients."
In the early 1760s, Pergolesi moved to London, England, where he helped popularize a neoclassical style that employed ornament inspired by artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome. Brilliantly hued watercolors from Cooper Hewitt's collection highlight Pergolesi's skill in transforming ancient relics-what he called "curious Things"-into lighthearted decorative motifs. Although his name is now largely forgotten, these rarely seen works call attention to Pergolesi's legacy, to the Beaux-Arts neoclassical decoration of Cooper Hewitt's historic mansion (built 1897-1902), and to the ways in which ornament of all kinds enlivens our built environment.
While visiting the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, don't forget visit
Mr. Pergolesi's Curious Things: Ornament in 18th-Century Britain - now on view through Sunday, January 29, 2023
There is also a Public Tour on Friday, January 20, 2023 from 1:30 to 2:15 pm with exhibition curator Julia Siemon. No registration required.
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