U.S. House of Representatives Curator Farar Elliot to Discuss Portraits in March 22 Lecture

Winchester, VA 3/20/15…U.S. House of Representatives Curator Farar Elliott will detail how a curatorial detective looks at portraits in the 2 p.m. lecture, “Portraits Past and Present,” this Sunday, March 22, at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV).

In her illustrated presentation, Farar Elliott will explore the frills and flourishes in portraiture and explain what these details mean. According to Elliott, nothing is included in a portrait accidentally; however, the meanings can be elusive, especially if the viewer isn’t the one for whom the painting was intended. In Sunday’s program Elliott will explain how the language of a portrait changes based on audience. She will also detail how the issues of power, status, family, memory, and love have been illustrated in portraiture through the centuries. Portraits from both the Museum’s Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection and the House Collection will be examined during the lecture.

As Curator of the House of Representatives and the Chief of the Office of Art and Archives, under the Clerk of the House, Farar Elliott is responsible for documenting, preserving, and presenting the art, artifacts, and records of the House of Representatives. On behalf of the clerk, Elliott’s office handles all the records of the House, from 1789 through the most recent Congress. The House of Representatives Collection includes more than 5,000 objects, of which more than 300 are portraits from the eighteenth century through the twenty-first century.

Farar Elliot’s academic background is in art history, beginning at Bryn Mawr College and continuing at the George Washington University. Her work has taken her to the Smithsonian Institution, the Richmond History Center in Richmond, Virginia, and the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum in Vermont. She has been with the House of Representatives since 2002, where in addition to her responsibilities in the House, she has been deeply involved in the development of the Capitol Visitor Center and in the local and national museum and arts communities.

Before or after Sunday’s program, attendees are encouraged to visit Face to Face: Portraits from the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection in the MSV Founders Gallery. Organized by the MSV, Face to Face examines the world of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century portraiture with the display of 35 British, American, and Dutch portraits from the collection of MSV benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr. (1910–1992). Face to Face includes works by renowned artists, such as Rembrandt Peale, George Romney, Gilbert Stuart, Sir Henry Raeburn, John Singleton Copley, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and Thomas Gainsborough. The exhibition also includes eight mirrors from the Glass Collection dating from 1735 to 1840. Made possible with the support of the Museum’s lead donors, the MSV Compass Society, Face to Face is on view through May 29, 2016.

Registration for Sunday’s program—which includes admission to all galleries and exhibitions—is free to MSV Members or $12 for all others. Those interested in reserving or purchasing tickets may do so online HERE or by calling the MSV at 540-662-1473, ext. 240. Tickets will also be sold at the Visitor Information Desk on Sunday; those interested in attending the lecture are encouraged to arrive early as limited seating is first-come, first-served.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is located at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, Virginia.

The MSV complex—which includes the Museum, the Glen Burnie House, and six acres of gardens—is open Tuesday through Sunday. The galleries are open year-round; the gardens are open April through October. Additional details are available at www.theMSV.org or by calling 540-662-1473, ext. 235.  – END –