Fairfield University Art Museum
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The Fairfield University Art Museum, formerly the Bellarmine Museum of Art, is an art museum located on the campus of Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. The museum features Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Celtic and Asian art and artifacts in three distinct galleries totaling 2,700 square feet (250 m2) of space. CollegeRank.net ranks it the 37th Most Amazing College Museum in the United States noting that "with an incredibly rich and broad collection of paintings, sculpture, and plaster casts, the Bellarmine Museum of Art is a must-see for art enthusiasts."
The Fairfield University Art Museum opened as the Bellarmine Museum of Art in October 2010. It was built at a cost of $3.2 million and was designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners. The museum's main gallery, The Frank and Clara Meditz Gallery, is named in honor of the parents of the lead donor to the project, University Trustee and alumnus John Meditz '70.
The museum is located on the renovated lower level of Bellarmine Hall which was designed in 1921 in the English manorial style. Formerly known as Hearthstone Hall because of its many fireplaces and chimneys, this forty-four room mansion was built by Walter B. Lashar, owner of the American Chain and Cable Company. The Jesuits purchased Bellarmine Hall from the town of Fairfield in 1942 to serve as one of the foundational building for Fairfield University.
The Meditz Gallery, which resembles an early Christian basilica in plan, showcases ten paintings from the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods, works gifted to the University by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via Bridgeport's Discovery Museum. In a smaller side gallery, highlights from the University's collection of plaster casts after exemplary works from ancient Rome and Greece (including eight recently donated to the University by the Acropolis Museum in Athens) are displayed. The corridor adjacent to the Meditz gallery holds casts of significant pieces from the Parthenon. In addition to these objects, the museum houses a range of non-Western art artifacts (including pre-Columbian vessels, 19th-century South East Asian sculptures and African masks), along with pieces from the Celtic, Byzantine, Medieval and Romanesque periods on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters.
Also among its valuable collection, the Fairfield University Art Museum is home to a rare facsimile of The Book of Kells, which was donated by The Wild Geese organization. The Book of Kells is an ornately illustrated manuscript, produced by Celtic monks around AD 800 in the style known as Insular art. It is one of the more lavishly illuminated manuscripts to survive from the Middle Ages and has been described as the zenith of Western calligraphy and illumination.
- "Linda Wolk-Simon named director and chief curator of Fairfield University's Bellarmine Museum of Art". Fairfield.edu. 2015-01-07. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
- A University's New Art Museum, New York Times, October 24, 2010
- 50 Most Amazing College Museums, CollegeRank.net, accessed April 8, 2015
- "New York Times Previews Museum". Centerbrook. 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Bellarmine Museum to Open in October". Centerbrook. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "The Keystone, John Meditz" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-08.
- "Bellarmine Museum of Art: The Architecture". Fairfield.edu. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Museum Opens October 25, 2010". Archived from the original on 2010-11-23.
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