Welcome to WAM Updates

WAM Updates are short, informal posts that put the spotlight on small, but exciting, Museum-related projects, such as the addition of a new painting or sculpture to a gallery. They also serve as updates on staff, new services or programs, and other WAM news.

We hope you like reading the Updates! If you are interested in learning about something specific, or have a suggestion for a WAM Update, please update us at wamupdates@worcesterart.org

Friday, June 24, 2016

On View: God Rested on the Seventh Day

If you have been in the early Renaissance painting gallery (Gallery 212) in the last week, you may have noticed a new guest from the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts, one of the great repositories of Russian religious art outside of Russia itself.

The work is an icon, a religious object of critical importance in Orthodox Christianity. Rather than simply representing spiritual subjects, as Christian paintings do, icons are considered direct portals to the divine. Icons capture the essence of the figure represented and they serve as a direct intercessor for the worshipper. In other words, they are instruments for establishing contact with God and remain a central element of worship in the Orthodox church.

Most icons in common use depict well-known saints, Christ, or the Virgin Mary. The work on loan, in contrast, is a rare and unusual subject: God Rested on the Seventh Day, painted in Moscow around 1550. Because the subject is unconventional, the owner was probably a priest or a highly educated lay person who used the icon for private devotion, rather than an icon used in a more public church setting. It represents the Old Testament book of Genesis 2:3: “And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

We’re very grateful to the Museum of Russian Icons for sharing this work – and by extension the icon tradition – with our visitors, letting us tell a much more complete story about painting in Europe during the Renaissance.

God Rested on the Seventh Day, 1550s (restored 1700s)
Egg tempera on panel
Russia, Moscow
Lent by the Museum of Russian Icons, R2013.80

- Jon L. Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art

Monday, June 20, 2016

Accessibility matters…one door at a time.

The grand re-opening of the Worcester Art Museum’s Salisbury Access Bridge made a huge impact on accessibility at the institution; however, another entryway recently and quietly received an important upgrade as well. A new push button door opener at the Stoddard Courtyard entrance (reached via the Tuckerman Street Parking lot) makes it much easier for guests to enter the building at that location – whether they have mobility challenges, are pushing a stroller, or carrying art supplies. With this welcoming feature, this entrance is now fully accessible.

We will continue to find ways to keep improving accessibility across the Museum campus.

Thank you,

Adam Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How To: Cat Armor!

This is Leah the Fierce. She wanted an armor to wear for the Meow opening and asked if I could help. I had never made an armor for a leopard before, but I decided to give it a try.
The first thing I had to do was get some measurements. I did this by making paper templates and test-fitting them on Leah. By doing this, I not only knew that the parts would fit, but I would also have a template for cutting out the foam I would use to build the armor.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Research Sheds New Light on WAM’s Stained Glass Collection

Recently, a group of specialists revealed compelling new information about the Worcester Art Museum’s stained glass. This April, I had the good fortune to watch as several members of the survey, Corpus Vitrearum, inspected the WAM’s collection of stained glass. Since the 1940s, the international publication has undertaken to catalogue and study all extant stained glass from the Middle Ages. And as the Museum’s glass is currently de-installed while the medieval galleries undergo a major renovation, three members of the American committee took the opportunity to examine the panels more closely than they have been studied in decades.

After inspecting the pitted, undulating surfaces of several works of medieval glass, we came to a panel that looked slightly different from the others. The window of The Story of Potiphar’s Wife shows the Biblical story of the Egyptian official Potiphar and his adulterous wife. In this image, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses Joseph, a slave, of making advances on her by presenting his purple robe to her husband.

Lightly touching the glass surfaces, the group observed that, although the border of leaves and flowers added to the panel in 1934 was consistently worn and pitted, the central pieces were thinner and flatter than the typical surface of blown medieval glass. Prompted to look more closely at the composition, the group observed that the painted faces of Potiphar and his wife were more nineteenth-century than medieval in style. Drawing from these clues, the group concluded that the work was likely a forgery created to be sold as a work of medieval art.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It’s Time for All Gender Restrooms

The Worcester Art Museum is committed to the philosophy of "access for all.” With this in mind, we have made the Museum's single stall restrooms gender neutral, reflecting the needs of today’s audiences. Visitors will notice that our restroom signs have been changed to reflect this new approach, providing a more welcoming environment for all of our audiences regardless of gender identity.

- Adam Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement

Recent WAM Updates