Saturday, January 9, 2010

See Raphael's The Woman with the Veil through March 21

I guess I didn't truly understand the significance of what I was about to see until I greeted locked doors at the main entrance of the Nevada Museum of Art on Friday, January 8. It was after regular hours, of course, but there was a scheduled media event as far as I knew.

I made my way toward the back of the museum and came across a side door, where a security guard asked me to push a button. I explained who I was, they checked "the list," and let me in. After verifying who I was a second time, security escorted me through another set of doors. It was about this time that it sank in how monumental this really was.

Actually, when Raphael's La Donna Velata or La Velata (The Woman with the Veil), c. 1516, was transported to the museum, it was quite the production as well, according to Rachel Milon, Director of Communications and Marketing for the NMA. You would have thought Barack Obama was being escorted to the museum, given Milon's description of countless police cars—with flashing lights—and an armored car delivering the painting at 2 a.m. to its 10-week temporary home in Reno.

The painting came from Portland, will be on exhibit in Reno from January 9 through March 21, then head to Milwaukee before returning to its rightful home in Italy. As I stared at the painting during a special media preview, before the onrush of folks who had received a special VIP invite to the unveiling, so many questions came to mind: Why didn't Raphael sign this particular painting, like most artists do?—(still not sure). How was the painting transported from Italy?—(by plane, under heavy security).

Much like the Rembrandt: The Embrace of Darkness and Light exhibit that runs through January 17, Milon expects a tourist boon from the Raphael exhibit. The museum is even partnering with local casinos on special room packages.

One thing is for sure, after Friday I can tell you I have much more of an appreciation for the arts. Whether you consider yourself an art aficionado or not, this is one exhibit you want to see before it leaves Reno. For hours and contact info, click here.

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