Kress Study Collection

From the mid-1920s to the end of the 1950s, Samuel Henry Kress (1863 - 1955) and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation (est. 1929) amassed one of the most astonishing collections of European old master paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts ever assembled through the efforts of a private individual. Even more remarkable was the manner in which the Kress Collection was shared with the American people. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. was presented 1,800 works of art while all the rest, another 1,300 pieces, was distributed across the continent. Collections of 20 to 60 old masters brought the first Italian paintings to regional communities where Kress five- and ten-cent stores served the public, and Kress study collections introduced European art to institutions of higher learning. Smaller gifts of one to three works spread the pleasure of art even further. Initiated by Samuel Kress in the early 1930s, the distribution of art by the Kress Foundation was completed, under the guidance of his brother Rush Kress, between 1947 and 1961. The five paintings forming the Kress Study Collection at Baylor University were received in 1961 and are displayed as a unit in the Hankamer Treasure Room.

 

Painting-Madonna & Child Between St. John Madonna & Child Between St. John the Baptist and Three Angels
Oil Painting after the style of Andrea del Sarto
Artist: Unknown, Florentine school, c. 1560
Dimensions: 37" x 30"
Location: Treasure Room

According to art critics, Andrea del Sarto worthily represents the Golden Age of Florence. Although del Sarto was not the creator of this painting, the form and style heavily suggest that the unknown painter admired and imitated his style. Robert Browning admired the works of del Sarto and based his poem, "Andrea del Sarto," on the artist.

Painting-Madonna and Child, after Pietro Lorenzetti Madonna and Child
Tempera Painting
Artist: Follower of Pietro Lorenzetti of the Sienese school, c. 1350-1400
Dimensions: 57" x 29"
Location: Treasure Room

Madonna and Child is the center portion of a five-part altarpiece from a church in Sienna; it is the oldest piece in the Armstrong Browning Library's collection. Although it is not known whether the Brownings ever saw the painting, it is a fact they toured the churches of Siena in order to view the many paintings. The Brownings were lovers of art, particularly of the Italian Renaissance.

Although the Madonna and Child painting is thought by many to be Medieval in style, it actually belongs to the earliest examples of Renaissance art. A humanist perspective had begun to creep into otherwise two-dimensional iconographic representations. Notice the facial contact of the Madonna with the infant, as well as the realism in the proportion of the figures, particularly that of the Christ Child.

Painting-The Holy Family The Holy Family with the Infant St. John
Oil on wood
Artist: Francesco Allegrini, c. 1600
Dimensions: 28" x 32 1/2"
Location: Treasure Room

 

Francesco Allegrini was born in Gubbio, Italy, in 1587. He specialized mainly in historical projects and produced many works, in oil and fresco, for the churches and palaces of Rome.

Other Works-Landscape with Bridge Landscape With Bridge
Oil Painting
Artist: Francesco Zuccarelli, c. 1720
Dimensions: 44" x 56"
Location: Treasure Room

Zuccarelli was a noted 18th-century landscape artist and is especially well-known for his English pastoral scenes. Although born in Italy, Zuccarelli spent several years in England, eventually becoming one of George III's favorite painters.

Painting-Christ the Man of Sorrows Christ, the Man of Sorrows
Oil on Wood
Artist: Giampietrino (Giovanni Padrino), c. 1540
Dimensions: 22 1/4" x 17 1/2"
Location: Treasure Room

Active in the first half of the sixteenth century, Giampietrino is considered to be a north Italian of the Lombard school and a follower of Leonardo da Vinci.