Like many people of the nineteenth century, Samuel Parrish's formative years
were influenced by the political and aesthetic ideals of European culture.
Parrish's vision originated in his interest in Italian Renaissance art, a
predilection nurtured during his years as a student at Harvard and, he has
stated, by reading Dante's Divine Comedy in the original Italian. Parrish
began collecting Italian art in 1881. Although his first purchase was of a
late sixteenth-century painting, Madonna and Child with Adoring
Angels, he was most attracted to works of the early Renaissance, also known as "Italian
Parrish's notion of the ideals of beauty and knowledge as represented by artists and writers of the Renaissance profoundly affected his vision for his Museum. It was during a trip to Europe in 1896, after the death of his mother, that he decided to found a museum in Southampton, both to house his growing collection and to make it available to the public.
This special exhibition of Renaissance paintings from The Parrish Art Museum's permanent collection included an important altarpiece of Saint Thomas Acquinas Enthroned, signed by the Genoese master Cosimo Re (ca 1430-after 1471), his only known surviving work. The Exhibition was curated by Laurence B. Kanter, Curator of the Robert Lehman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ongoing support of The Parrish Art Museum's exhibition program is provided by The Exhibition Fund, which is supported, in part, by grants from the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc., the Cowles Charitable Trust, the L & L Foundation, Del Laboratories, the Betty Parsons Foundation, Helene and Whitney Stevens, and the New York State Council on the Arts.