Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Collection of Roberta and Richard Huber

Christ Descending into Hell</em>, Peruvian, 18th century

March 11 - July 9, 2017

Highest Heaven explores the cultural and religious world of the Spanish Colonial possessions of the Altiplano (high plains) of South America. Through approximately 100 paintings, sculptures, ivories, objects in silver, and furniture, the exhibition traces the development and spread of the Catholic faith through the creation and usage of religious art for devotion and instruction.

The objects are drawn from the distinguished collection of Roberta and Richard Huber of New York City. Over three decades the Hubers have built one of the most significant assemblages of this material in private hands.

Rather than group works by media as an introduction to the world of Spanish Colonial art, the exhibition returns the objects' original context as, literally and symbolically, articles of faith. It focuses on the didactic aspects of the collection, especially as they relate to the life of Christ, the Christian religious orders, and the cult of the saints. It explores ways in which such religious art was used in the propagation of Catholic beliefs by use of visual art to illustrate biblical moments in the life of Christ—from the Annunciation and birth to the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Furthermore, it examines visual representations of saints, exemplar proponents of the Christian life. Finally, Highest Heaven will focus on religious orders that provided organizational and philosophical underpinnings for the propagation of the faith.

The exhibition is organized and circulated by the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Above: Christ Descending into Hell, Peruvian, 18th century, Oil on canvas, Roberta and Richard Huber Collection, Photograph by Robert Schwarz

Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Huber Collection is funded in part by the Michie Family Curatorial Fund and the John and Ruth Adam, Jr. Exhibition Fund; through sponsorship from Rand-Whitney Container; media partnership with The Boston Globe and WGBH; and community partnership with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester.

We are also grateful for individual support from friends throughout Worcester County, including Dorothy and Daniel Salmon, J.J. Bafaro Inc. and J. Christopher and Catherine Z. Collins.

Related Events:

Ilya Yakushev, piano
Saturday, April 22, 2pm

Enjoy a recital in the Renaissance Court with pianist Ilya Yakushev performing Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (excerpts) and Bach-Busoni's Chaconne. This performance is presented in partnership with Music Worcester's BachFest, April 20 - 23, celebrating the venues of the Salisbury Cultural District. Free with Museum admission.



Highest Heaven: Admission Discount Coupon
Sundays, March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, July 9, 11am-5pm
Present this coupon for $2 off admission.

Group Tour Package
Enjoy a docent-guided tour of Highest Heaven and lunch at The Sole Proprietor restaurant for $36 per person. To reserve, please contact the Museum's Education Department at 508.793.4335 at least three weeks in advance. Minimum group size is 10, maximum is 80.


Third Thursday Master Series Art Talk
Thursday, March 16, 6pm

Learn how the creation and use of religious art for devotion and instruction was used to develop and spread the Catholic faith in South America. Reception follows. Free with Museum admission.

Speaker: Michael Schreffler, Associate Professor of Art and Architecture of Spain and Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries, University of Notre Dame.

Selected Images:

Christ Child as Salvator Mundi, Indo-Portuguese, 17th century Pax Depicting the Ecce Homo, Peruvian, 18th century Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Indo-Portuguese, 17th century Our Lady of Candlemas with Donors, Bolivian


Bishop McManus of the Diocese of Worcester talks with WAM's Matthias Waschek and Katrina Stacy about Highest Heaven.


Artistic worlds collide in 'Highest Heaven' - The Boston Globe
'Heaven' can't wait: New Worcester Art Museum exhibit highlights Spanish, Portuguese colonial art - Worcester Telegram & Gazette