Objects of Belief from the Vatican: Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

SAN FRANCISCO (January 11, 2013)—From the vast holdings of the Vatican Ethnological Museum, the de Young will display 39 rarely seen works from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas that reflect indigenous religious cultures. The presentation will enable visitors to learn about the local and global significance of the objects and their journeys without the imposition of a single dominant cultural storyline.

The objects on view have been selected for their artistic and cultural significance and span more than four centuries and three continents. Highlights include two masks and three shrine carvings obtained in 1691 by Fray Francisco Romero in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; three figurative sculptures representing the gods Tu and Tupo sent by the first missionary in Mangareva to Pope Gregory XVI in 1837; and a 15th-century stone sculpture created in Mexico of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl.

The de Young’s dedication to the display and interpretation of objects from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas has been very strong, and today more than half of the museum’s gallery space is dedicated to these arts. Objects of Belief complements the de Young’s permanent collection holdings from these areas and is the very first exhibition to travel to the United States that consists solely of the Vatican’s works from continents and cultures beyond Europe.

Objects of Belief draws its inspiration from the Vatican’s recent efforts to highlight world cultures through important special exhibitions. This collaboration also builds on the Fine Arts Museums’ existing relationship with the Vatican, established in 1982 with The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art, which included 15 works from the Ethnological Museum. Objects of Belief takes place concurrently with the renovation of the Vatican Ethnological Museum, planned to reopen in 2014.

Exhibition Organization and Sponsors
This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with gratitude for exceptional loans from the collection of the Vatican Ethnological Museum.

Generous support provided by Lauren L. T. Hall and David Hearth, and John F. Kunowski and Richard Benefield.

Visiting \ de Young
Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

Museum Hours
Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 am–5:15 pm, last ticket 4 pm. Friday (March 29–November 29, 2013) 9:30 am–8:45 pm, last ticket 8 pm. Closed Mondays.

$10 Adults; $7 Seniors (65 and above); $6 Students with current ID; $6 Youths 13–17. Members and children 12 and under are free. General admission is free the first Tuesday of every month.

Tickets can be purchased on site and online. Tickets purchased online include a $1 handling charge.

Group ticket reservations available by emailing groupsales@famsf.org.

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.

The de Young is housed in a copper-clad landmark building designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. It showcases the institution’s significant collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; art from Oceania, Africa, and the Americas; a diverse collection of costumes and textiles; and international contemporary art.

The Legion of Honor’s Beaux-Arts style building designed by George Applegarth is located on a bluff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Its collections span 4,000 years and include European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.

Images from all exhibitions and museums available upon request.