Exhibitions / The Collection Galleries

On view May 28, 2016 - May 27, 2018

Highlighting 5,000 years of art, The Collection Galleries contain rotating installations of the Nasher Museum’s extensive holdings. Eight galleries, and also the entrance to Wilson Pavilion, are dedicated to the collection’s strengths, which include a variety of cultures and time periods. The Incubator is a flexible gallery used for continuously changing faculty- and student-curated projects and thematic installations. These galleries provide context for the collection while also illustrating a brief history of human creativity from different parts of the world. Visit often to make new discoveries at the Nasher!

Now on view in the entrance and in the adjoining Incubator gallery, to the right, visitors will find A Portrait of Venice, a multi-media exhibition that brings to life the city of Venice through Jacopo de’ Barbari’s iconic View. Printed in 1500, this mural-sized woodcut portrays a bird’s eye view of the city that was instantly recognized as a technological and artistic masterpiece. The original print is on loan from the Minneapolis Institute of Art. For the first time, this exhibition animates the View with interactive displays, touchscreens and an augmented reality station that tell the stories of one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and greatly admired cities in the early modern world.

The Ancient World covers a broad geographical and chronological reach, featuring works from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures. Medieval Europe displays important architectural sculpture, devotional objects and stained glass from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. European Art, 1400-1900, illustrates cultural and aesthetic changes from the Renaissance to the dawn of the modern period through a variety of objects, paintings and sculptures.

Art of the United States, 1800-1950, begins with portraiture from the early Republic, continues with Hudson River School painting and Ash Can School works, and concludes with examples of Regionalism.  La Vita Italiana: Italian Postwar Photography, 1950-1970 is a candid look at life in postwar Italy through the eyes of approximately 20 Italian photographers. Relatively unknown in this country, these photographs reveal some of the humor, hardships and other aspects of everyday life in Italy after World War II.

Two galleries dedicated to non-Western cultures include Art of the Americas, presenting ceramics, metalwork and textiles from Mesoamerica, and African Art, featuring many of the museum’s best masks, figural sculpture and beadwork from the African continent


Book of Hours
The Nasher Museum’s Book of Hours (Workshop of Jean Bourdichon, c. 1490) is a fine example of 15th-century French manuscript production. It has 156 pages, including daily prayers for Christian devotion, a calendar of saints’ days and 13 full-page paintings, or miniatures, depicting religious scenes and vignettes associated with then-contemporary life. Now visitors can explore these 13 richly illustrated pages in detail with a new digital program. The Nasher Museum’s Book of Hours is on view in the European room of The New Galleries. Visitors can also explore the book online; it is compatible with smart phones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers.


Lives of Things

The Nasher Museum presents “Medieval Color Comes to Light,” an interactive light painting application that allows visitors to project vibrant colors onto 800-year-old limestone sculptures depicting four disciples of Christ. The digital interactive display reveals bright pigments that have been worn away by the centuries. The project team of Duke faculty and students, “Lives of Things,” was led by professor Mark Olson from the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and post-doctoral researcher Mariano Tepper from Computer and Electrical Engineering, in collaboration with professors Caroline Bruzeluus (AAHVS) and Guillermo Sapiro (CEE).


Nasher Museum exhibitions and programs are generously supported by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the late Mary D.B.T. Semans and James H. Semans, the late Frank E. Hanscom III, The Duke Endowment, the Nancy Hanks Endowment, the Courtney Shives Art Museum Fund, the James Hustead Semans Memorial Fund, the Janine and J. Tomilson Hill Family Fund, the Trent A. Carmichael Fund for Community Education, the Neely Family Fund, the E. T. Rollins, Jr., and Frances P. Rollins Fund for the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the Marilyn M. Arthur Fund, the Sarah Schroth Fund, the George W. and Viola Mitchell Fearnside Endowment Fund, the Gibby and Michael B. Waitzkin Fund, the K. Brantley and Maxine E. Watson Endowment Fund, the Victor and Lenore Behar Endowment Fund, the Margaret Elizabeth Collett Fund, the Nasher Museum of Art General Endowment, the Friends of the Nasher Museum of Art, and the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost, Duke University.