Seems like the Bellarmine Museum of Art was always here.
In the ground floor of a 1920s Tudor mansion on the edge of Fairfield University’s campus, the Bellarmine is loaded with plaster casts from ancient Rome and Greece, Renaissance paintings and Baroque art. You would be justified in concluding that the museum has been here all along but has somehow escaped your attention.
Take heart. Whatever else in life you’ve overlooked, the Bellarmine is in fact brand spanking new.
Upon entering the museum you first see a dramatic corridor that contains the plaster casts including eight recently donated by the Acropolis Museum in Athens. It leads to the main hall, the Frank and Clara Meditz Gallery with an “evocative footprint” that “resembles an early Christian basilica in plan.”
So, in short, you’ll see works from Rome, Athens and Bridgeport.
The museum also houses pre-Columbian vessels, 19th-century South East Asian sculptures and African masks as well as pieces from the Celtic, Byzantine, Medieval and Romanesque periods on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Medieval Art and the Cloisters.
The most important thing to know, however, has nothing to do with the art. All along I’ve been saying “Bellar-mine.” It’s properly pronouned “Bellar-men.” Don’t get it wrong. And don’t assume that it’s named for the man who built the mansion. (His name was Walter B. Lashar, and he had dubbed the home “Hearthstone Hall.”) Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) is the patron saint of Fairfield University. Another reason not to mispronounce his name.
After a series of preview receptions for alumni, media, trustees, etc., it opens to the public Monday, Oct. 25.