McNay Art Museum presents "Hollywood’s Sistine Chapel: Sacred Sets for Stage & Screen"

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McNay Art Museum presents "Hollywood’s Sistine Chapel: Sacred Sets for Stage & Screen"
Photo courtesy of the Art Directors Guild Archives; JC Backings; and Melinda Sue Gordon, Society of Motion Picture Still Photographers

"Hollywood’s Sistine Chapel: Sacred Sets for Stage & Screen" captures the Renaissance in both theatre and cinema. Six hand-painted, sound-stage backdrops from Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) studio will “guest star” in this exhibition, alongside artworks from The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

The backdrops, on loan from Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, were created for MGM’s 1968 papal drama, The Shoes of the Fisherman, starring Anthony Quinn. Nearly discarded, more than 200 backdrops - including these six replicas of large-scale Renaissance masterpieces in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel - were saved through the 2017 Art Directors Guild’s Backdrop Recovery Project.

"Hollywood’s Sistine Chapel" engages iconic movie backdrops in conversation with modern theatre designs and with 15th and 16th-century Renaissance artworks. Including rare movie backdrops in this exhibition, the McNay expands Robert L.B. Tobin’s imperative that future generations of designers discover and learn about theatre arts practices.

Backdrops replicating frescoes, including Michelangelo’s "The Last Judgement," complement the Tobin Collection’s cathedral-inspired maquettes for Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera La Prophète, and costume designs by Jim Dine for John the Baptist in Salome." A painting of Anthony Quinn, The Pope of Broadway by artist Eloy Torrez, punctuates the exhibition conversation.

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McNay Art Museum
6000 N. New Braunfels Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78209

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