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New Accession Highlight: Venus of Urbino Revived

There’s a lot to see in the back Rowland Gallery, which currently features an exhibition of new accessions, added to the collection between 2018–now. You can make an appointment to visit, and in the meantime, we’re featuring each of the exhibited pieces online. Today we’ll take a peek at Venus of Urbino Revived, by sculptor Mara Superior.

Venus of Urbino Revived sculpture by Mara Superior

Mara Superior, (American, b. 1951), Venus of Urbino Revived, 2017, Porcelain, oxides, underglaze, glaze, gold leaf, decal, 13 x 19 x 3 in., Gift of the Kohler Foundation, Inc., 2019.1

Ceramic artist Mara Superior’s porcelain sculpture reflects the artist’s engagement with the history of Western art. This piece is inspired by the Venus of Urbino, an iconic work by the Italian Renaissance painter Titian. Not only does the artist replicate Titian’s subject, but she also embeds an image of the painting in the work, identifying it as the “first modern painting.” Superior also references the long history of Western ceramic production in her work. The inclusion of a reclining nude female figure in an oval vessel, for example, echoes French sixteenth-century ceramic vessels that featured erotic subjects made for the royal court.