The Material of Culture: Renaissance Medals and Textiles from the Ulrich A. Middeldorf Collection will be on display at the Georgia Museum of Art Oct. 26 to Jan. 12. Comprising works on loan from Indiana University Art Museum, this exhibition features rarely seen works of Italian Renaissance and Baroque decorative arts collected by German-American art historian Ulrich A. Middeldorf.
The exhibition also will feature a 15th-century dalmatic, or liturgical robe, borrowed from the Detroit Institute of Arts. The dalmatic will provide context for the fragmented pieces of liturgical textiles from the Middeldorf collection.
Other objects in the exhibition convey changing styles and techniques in medals and textiles during the Italian Renaissance and Baroque period.
Most of the medals are consistent with previous pictorial traditions of depicting a bust portrait of the sitter, usually in profile, and symbolic imagery on the reverse. These medals were created for private distribution among friends or social equals to commemorate accomplishments.
The medals provided a sort of immortality for those depicted and sometimes even served as intimate gifts of friendship or love.