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» Past Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

Rules of the Game - An Exhibition of Undergraduate Work

29th May to 16th June 2010

Works from Christ Church’s Fine Art undergraduates Cara George, Claire-Louise Shifrin and James Sutton,  from the Ruskin School of Art were on display.

A limited edition Napkin in Tube - designed by James Sutton after a drawing by Verocchio from the Gallery collection, was also on sale at £6.50.


The Firing Line - Depictions of Conflict in the Collection of General John Guise

25th May - 29th August 2010

The 34 drawings in the exhibition came from the collection of General John Guise (1682-1765), the Picture Gallery’s main benefactor. Guise combined his profession as a soldier with his passion for Old Master drawings. It is therefore tempting to assume that he might have had a special interest in military scenes. Unfortunately, this assumption is difficult to verify, but this exhibition showed some outstanding drawings which he might have studied in more detail and left it to the viewer to decide if our collectors’ fascination with war can be detected in his collection of drawings.

Objects of Devotion - Five Paintings of the Madonna and Child

20th March - 30th May 2010

The depiction of the Madonna and Child is the most popular devotional image. Five rarely seen works from the Christ Church collection allowed visitors to re-acquaint themselves with this familiar theme and to re-visit the Madonna and Child paintings of our primary collection, by artists such as Piero della Francesca, Annibale Carracci and many more.


After Michelangelo

16th February - 16th May 2010

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 - 1564) is regarded as the most influential artists of all times. His fresco of the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is the most replicated work of art. Artists from Raphael to Tintoretto copied his works in order to further their own artistic ideas. This exhibition brought together thirty-three drawings from the Christ Church collection of Old Masters to trace and understand Michelangelo's genius through his followers, imitators and admirers.  

The Poetry of Draped Figures

2nd November - 7th February 2010

How drapery and clothes enrobe the human figure and how to depict the varied qualities of material was and remains one of the challenges in art. With more than thirty old master drawings this exhibition explored a seemingly mundane topic and illustrated its richness and creative power. Works on display included Leonardo da Vinci's Study of a Sleeve and drapery studies by Figino, one of Leonardo's followers. Despite their practical qualities all the drawings - in their rendering of the folds, play with light and shade and lines that follow or defeat the imagined body underneath - can equally be regarded as abstract poetic forms.

A Stylish Style – Art between Renaissance and Baroque

12th June – 4th October 2009

Christ Church’s collection contains a large number of drawings from the mid-sixteenth century. The importance of that period in art was only fully recognised in the twentieth century and with this recognition the treasures of Christ Church became focal points in the study of the era. Jacopo Pontormo’s preparatory drawing for his Lamentation in the church of Santa Felicita in Florence is probably the most famous example of this kind. More than thirty drawings were on display in this exhibition by artists such as Vasari, Salviati, Allori, Pontormo and many more.


Karen Forsyth - Drawings on Paper and Canvas

7th May 2009 - 14th June 2009

Karen Forsyth, an Oxford based artist exhibited her recent works – figure drawings in pencil, charcoal and chalk, some on prepared paper. Her drawings impress through a lightness which she achieves by an almost meditative movement of the line.

Prophets, Muses and Inspirations

5th March - 19th April 2009 (coincided with the Times Oxford Literary Festival)

A selection of drawings were displayed for the Times Oxford Literary Festival, fashioning connections between fine art and the written word.



Sir Peter Lely (1618 - 1680): artist-collector of the Baroque

24th February - 31st May 2009

Sir Peter Lely was one of the first artist-collectors of Old Master drawings. More than thirty drawings from his former collection were on display in this exhibition, re-creating the taste of one of Britain's most successful artists of  the 17th century.



Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: The Advent of Christianity in Art

1st November - 22nd February 2009

An exhibition celebrating the spirit of Christmas: the works on show depicted scenes from the Nativity to the Flight to Egypt and included drawings by Titian, Correggio and Domenichino.


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