Opening of MAM’s ‘Italian Renaissance Drawings from the British Museum’ manifests humanistic spirit

Date of publication: 12/04/2019
Type: Exhibition

The exhibition “Italian Renaissance Drawings from the British Museum”, integrated in the series of activities of the event “Art Macao”, organised by the Macao Museum of Art (MAM), under the Cultural Affairs Bureau, and the British Museum, and supported by Suzhou Museum and the Faculty of Creative Industries of the University of Saint Joseph, was inaugurated on the third floor of the MAM at 6:30pm today (11 April).

The opening ceremony was held in a lively atmosphere and was officiated by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, Alexis Tam Chon Weng; the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao S.A.R., Xue Xiaofeng; the Acting Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macao SAR, Wang Dong; the President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government, Mok Ian Ian; the Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office of the Macao SAR Government, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes; the Keeper of the Department of Asia of the British Museum, Jane Portal; the Director of the British Council, Jeff Streeter; the Vice-Rector of the University of Saint Joseph (Macao), Mr. Alvaro Barbosa; and the Secretary General of Caritas Macau, Pun Chi Meng.

Divided into six sections: the Human Figure, Movement, Light, Costume and Drapery, the Natural World and Storytelling, the exhibition showcases 52 original drawings by 42 great artists from 15th to 16th century Italian Renaissance period, epitomising the evolution and innovation that characterise Renaissance art. Featured in the exhibition will be the works from Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, collectively known as ‘The Big Three’; Ghirlandaio, the teacher of Michelangelo; Correggio, who highly influenced the style of many subsequent Baroque and Rococo artists; and Titian, representative artist of the Venetian school. All the drawings are exhibited in Macao for the very first time.

A humanistic spirit permeates all Renaissance artwork, driving the artists to develop the rules of perspective to faithfully express the depth of space and utilising the Chiaroscuro technique to give volume and three-dimensionality to the objects being portrayed. Drawing as the cornerstone of Italian Renaissance art demands a lot of time from the artists, not to mention repeated trials and errors during the creative process, until the work is finally perfected. The fact that these drawings stand the test of time is a clear testimony of its enduring artistic and aesthetic value. It is also because of this that modern-day audiences are able to catch a rare glimpse into the creative process of the Italian painters in the Renaissance period.

Aiming at creating thoroughly inclusive museum and at exploring other senses beyond vision within the museum setting, 3D prints of a selection of the drawings will allow for a unique tactile experience of some the artworks. The museum has especially invited the British Museum exhibition curator Sarah Vowles, for a talk on 13 April (Saturday), which will be conducted in English for all those who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding about the exhibition, its topics and the techniques used by young artists in the workshops of the Renaissance. A vast public program which includes guided tours with the curator, hand-on tours to the 3D printing section of the exhibition, drawings workshops, courses, and special activities for children, for the blind and visually-impaired were carefully crafted by the MAM.

The exhibition “Italian Renaissance Drawings from the British Museum” is open until 30 June. The Macao Museum of Art, located at Avenida Xian Xing Hai, NAPE, is open daily from 10am to 7pm (no admittance after 6:30pm), including public holidays, and is closed on Mondays. Admission is free. For more information, please visit the MAM’s website at For enquiries, please contact MAM through tel. no. 8791 9814 during opening hours.








The Human Figure


c. 1530–40

©Trustees of the British Museum.




(c. 1548–1628)

TWO MALE NUDES Brush drawing in brown wash, heightened with white oil paint, on light grey-brown prepared paper
c. 1575

©Trustees of the British Museum.