If the title of the Holburne Museum’s major summer exhibition ‘Painted Love’ sounds familiar, it’s probably because you are old enough to remember Soft Cell’s cover of a song that was originally recorded – without much success – by Gloria Jones.
However, their hit was “Tainted Love” but – with a slight twist – the curators have drawn on the title of a song about a romantic defect or flaw to describe an exhibition unsullied in any such way and one that illustrates the visual side of the 15th and 16th-century business of love and marriage.
In the Renaissance age – centuries before the arrival of online matchmaking – the only way a rich or royal suitor could check on who was a ‘suitable’ bride (or groom) was to send a trusted artist to paint their likeness. Marriages arranged on canvas that, maybe, still lead to a meeting of hearts later on!
The exhibition Painted Love: Renaissance Marriage Portraits which is now on view at The Holburne Museum through to October 1st explores the whole business of courtship through art – not only in looking for a bride or groom but showing them off afterwards as wives and husbands.
It is colourful, emotional and beautiful. A wonderful collection of paintings and miniatures – along with associated objects that relate to marriage during this European-based period.
I popped along to speak to Monserrat Pis Marcos who co-curated the exhibition. She’s softly spoken but very clear about how the exhibition puts Renaissance marriages in the frame.
More information via https://www.holburne.org/events/painted-love-renaissance-marriage-portraits/