Lush Old Masters at SAM

It’s the first major exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum since Amanda Cruz took over as director: a show that displays 40 Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Of course, you could have seen them in sitù had you traveled to Italy, where they’ve been housed at the Royal Palace of Capodimonte, overlooking Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples.

The exhibit features paintings of the human figure. in scenes both mythological and religious; they emphasize the human body as a symbol of love and devotion, and as an example of tragic suffering.

In the picture above, for example, the female painter Artemisia Gentileschi depicts the heroic Judith and her maid beheading the evil Assyrian general, who had threatened to destroy her village.

The historic Capodimonte Palace outside Naples houses an impressive art collections but is considered Italy’s most underrated museum.

Curating the Seattle exhibit is Chiyo Ishikawa, whose specialty is European art. Admission for non-members is $30; a one-year membership (which gets you free admission) is $80.