Putting marriage in the frame

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/