American philanthropist brings together his passion and faith as sponsor of British Museum's summer exhibition
At a time when funding to the Arts is being slashed, American-born philanthropist John Studzinski CBE is maintaining his generous support by sponsoring a major exhibition at the British Museum, which opened last week.
By supporting the major summer exhibition that explores the spiritual and artistic significance of Christian relics and reliquaries in medieval Europe, Studzinski aligns his deep faith with his passion for the Arts. The exhibition features some of the finest sacred treasures of the medieval age and includes rare loans from the Vatican and a late Roman sarcophagus dating from between 250–350 AD. Relics include three thorns thought to be from the Crown of Thorns, the breast milk of the Virgin Mary, and the Mandylion of Edessa; one of the earliest known likenesses of Jesus.
As reported by Bloomberg, Studzinski, a Catholic who has a chapel in his London home, said: “If you believe in something and you have the resources to support it, you try to bring it to other audiences. People today have mixed views about religious formalism or structure, whether it’s the structure of the Church or the structure of other organised religions,” he said in an interview at Blackstone’s London offices. He said the show should appeal to visitors because “what people are really looking for is objects or sources of energy for spiritual nurturing.”
Other philanthropists associated with the exhibition include William and Judith Bollinger, Betsy and Jack Ryan, Howard and Roberta Ahmanson and The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation.
Studzinski, a senior managing director and global head of Blackstone Advisory Partners LP, is a committed philanthropist, including being vice-chair and director of Human Rights Watch and a trustee of the Tate Foundation, The Passage Day Centre for the Homeless and the Royal Parks Foundation. In 2001, he established the Genesis Foundation which supports emerging composers, directors, writers and actors. In May 2007, he gave £5m to Tate Modern for its new extension.
He received the Beacon Prize in 2004 for services to philanthropy. In 2008, he was named in the Queen's New Year Honours List as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to the Arts and charity.
Treasures of Heaven: saints, relics and devotion in medieval Europe runs until October 9th 2011.
Find out more at The British Museum.