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Past Exhibitions

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.


Graeme Salmon: Coastal Landscapes

1st November - 7th December 2008

For the first time Christ Church Picture Gallery showed works by the Queen’s College physicist and watercolourist Graeme Salmon.



Still one of Oxford’s Best Kept Secrets - 40 years of Christ Church Picture Gallery

28th June – 29th October 2008

Forty years ago, on the 2nd May 1968, Christ Church Picture Gallery was opened by the Her Majesty the Queen. Christ Church’s art collection was now housed in a purpose-built, prize-winning gallery by the architect team Powell & Moya. With this act Christ Church opened its famous collection of Old Master paintings and drawings to the public. The Picture Gallery has since then become a fixture for every art lover within and outside of Oxford.  


Treasured Drawings: Christ Church Curators Reminisce

28th June – 26th October 2008

The care, knowledge and enthusiasm for the collection, and its new building, by previous and current curators, has played a major part in establishing Christ Church Picture Gallery. This exhibition showed some of the major drawings of the collection seen through their eyes. The accompanying catalogue gives a personal and interesting view of the development of the Picture Gallery over the last four decades.


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