European Painting and Sculpture (before 1700)


The University’s collection of early modern paintings and sculptures is predominantly religious in nature. In the past, the Catholic Church has been among the greatest patrons of the arts. After its foundation in 1842, the University of Notre Dame continued in that tradition, collecting public and private devotional works that reflect Christianity’s history, stories, and beliefs, and that offer insights into the practices and customs of the faithful. Evidence of theological debates, reforms, and counter-reforms, are found in the pictures and images, illustrating the relationship between Church fathers and ancient Greek and Roman philosophers.

Especially noteworthy is the gift of eighteen works from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, donated to the University in 1961, including Cosimo Rosselli’s Christ on the Cross and the gem-like, fourteenth-century Crucifixion panel by Puccio di Simone. Mr. and Mrs. James W. Alsdorf donated sculptures to the University, both large and small, including the fifteenth-century copper Reliquary Bust of a Female Saint and a hand-held memento mori of an ivory skull. Choice paintings from the Fred J. Fisher Collection provide stellar examples of canonical artists.

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