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Muscarelle breaks record attendance with Michelangelo show

  • Record Crowds
    Record Crowds  W&M's Muscarelle Museum of Art has welcomed a record number of guests, approximately 25,000 to date, since the opening of the Michelangelo and Mattia Preti exhibitions on Feb. 9.  Courtesy photo
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On Feb. 9, William & Mary’s Muscarelle Museum of Art welcomed two old-world masters to the United States to commemorate the museum’s 30th Anniversary. Now, in their last week, visitors still have a few days left to view two groundbreaking exhibitions, Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane and Mattia Preti:  A Brush with Passion, on display through April 14.


Since February, the Muscarelle has received national and international attention in part due to media coverage from national publications such as The New York Times, Huffington Post and Art DailyMichelangelo: Sacred and Profane, curated by Assistant Director and Chief Curator John T. Spike, has been the headline exhibition featuring a varied selection of 25 drawings from the Casa Buonarroti in Florence.

Throngs of people have made the pilgrimage to Williamsburg to view the exhibitions from across the Hampton Roads community, the Commonwealth and the country. According to the Muscarelle, the museum has welcomed a record number of guests, approximately 25,000 to date, since the opening of these shows. Daily attendance has steadily been over 600 patrons, but many weekends have seen the galleries bustling with over 1,000 visitors per day. Visitors have also included students, faculty and staff from William & Mary and school groups.

The second Italian master on display at the Muscarelle is perhaps the greatest follower of Caravaggio, Mattia Preti.  Mattia Preti: A Brush with Passion captivates unsuspecting visitors who were drawn to the Museum by Michelangelo’s drawings. In a sharp contrast to the drawings, Preti’s vivid canvases featuring intense colors and larger-than-life emotions mesmerize museum visitors. Curated by Spike, this exhibit celebrates the 400th anniversary of Preti’s birth and is the first monographic exhibit of his works in the United States.

Both exhibits have garnered attention in the United States and abroad. The Muscarelle Museum has been designated as an official participant in the “Year of Italian Culture” in the United States by the Italian government and the U.S. Department of State. Spike also delivered a lecture in Florence, Italy, as part of this celebration.

General Information

The Muscarelle Museum of Art is located on Jamestown Road on the campus of The College of William & Mary. For more information about this exhibit or the museum in general, please call (757)221-2700 or visit


The Museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays. Docent tours are available at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sundays and other times as announced.


During this exhibition, there is an admission fee of $15. Admission is free for museum members, William & Mary faculty, staff, and students, as well as children under 12.