A Sporting Vision:
The Paul Mellon Collection of British Sporting Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. An exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
With representative masterpieces of the genre—including works by Sir Francis Grant, John Frederick Herring, Benjamin Marshall, George Morland, and George Stubbs—this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s gift of British sporting art to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and marks an opportunity to view the entire breadth of this outstanding and comprehensive collection. It also proposes a fresh look at sporting art within wider social and artistic contexts, including the scientific and industrial revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, the transformation of the British countryside, the evolutionary history of the horse and other animals, and society’s changing habits and customs.
Beginning in around 1700 and spanning more than 200 years, the enduring appeal and beauty of English country life is reflected in more than 80 paintings, including a special section devoted to the incomparable work of famed horse and animal painter George Stubbs (1724-1806). Often featuring specific portraits of beloved horses, dogs, and their owners, A Sporting Vision provides an in-depth immersion in the country pursuits that the Pittsburgh-born Paul Mellon loved. A Sporting Vision also touches on larger themes related to Enlightenment era scientific inquiry, class structure, industrialization, and the development of roadways and transportation. A Sporting Vision is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.