The first major retrospective exhibition ever presented of paintings by the imaginative Italian Renaissance master Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522) premieres at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, this Sunday, February 1 through May 3, 2015. Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence will showcase some 44 of the artist’s most compelling works. With themes ranging from the pagan to the divine, the works include loans from churches in Italy and one of his greatest masterpieces, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Elizabeth of Hungary, Catherine of Alexandria, Peter, and John the Evangelist with Angels (completed by 1493), from the Museo degli Innocenti, Florence. Several important paintings will undergo conservation treatment before the exhibition, including the Gallery’s Visitation with Saints Nicholas of Bari and Anthony Abbot (c. 1489–1490)—one of the artist’s largest surviving works.
“We are delighted to share the brilliance of Piero di Cosimo—the Renaissance’s most spellbinding storyteller—with our visitors,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. “This is also the first time the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence has co-organized a paintings exhibition with another museum and we look forward to many more projects with our Italian partners.”
After Washington, a different version of the exhibition, including work by Piero’s contemporaries, will be on view at the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence from June 23 through September 27, 2015, entitled Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522): Pittore fiorentino “eccentrico” fra Rinascimento e Maniera.
“No artist has given the world more rare and singular inventions while remaining in the shadow of the Renaissance greats of his time than Piero di Cosimo,” said Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage for the City and the Museums of Florence. “His beguiling pictorial creations will linger in the imagination of all those who see the exhibition.”
“Una iniziativa unica nel suo genere, di grandissimo prestigio – ha commentato l’Ambasciatore d’Italia a Washington Claudio Bisogniero – che conferma lo straordinario rapporto di collaborazione tra la National Gallery e il sistema museale italiano, grazie anche all’opera del Ministero degli Esteri italiano e della nostra Ambasciata. Per citare alcuni recenti esempi, penso alla mostra del David Apollo dal Museo Nazionale del Bargello e del Galata Morente dai Musei Capitolini che hanno rispettivamente aperto e chiuso il 2013 – Anno della Cultura Italiana negli Stati Uniti, la mostra della Danae di Tiziano dal Museo di Capodimonte per celebrare il semestre di Presidenza italiana dell’UE, e alla serie innumerevole di concerti, mostre, proiezioni di film che organizziamo costantemente con questo grande museo americano”.
SOURCES: NGA, IT-EMB
During the First World War even Italy’s historical and artistic heritage became a powerful propaganda tool for the country affected by the war. The art and beauty destroyed during air raids or land battles were further proof of the “enemy’s barbarity.” The planned or accidental destruction of artistic monuments had already been condemned by France on Sept. 19, 1914, following the irreparable damages to Reims Cathedral, and even earlier, on Aug. 25, 1914, by Belgium when the historical library of Louvain was destroyed by fire.
Centuries-old art became an innocent victim of the war’s destruction. Stone sculptures could not survive steel shells.
In Italy, the destruction of culture was considered a cowardly and uncivilized act, a sort of blasphemous sacrilege, much like the violence perpetrated by invading armies against unarmed civilians. The idea that Italy’s national heritage could be used as a successful propaganda tool against the enemy was immediately put into action with photographs, like those in this special exhibition, that documented the damages of war to paintings, frescoes and churches. Photography was also used to sensitize the population in remote areas far from the front lines since this visual means proved the most effective instrument of persuasion—it could be easily understood even by the less educated members of the population and the illiterate. Newspapers and magazines thus detailed the beautiful artworks in the more famous Italian cities protected and defended against the “enemy’s barbarity.”
As shown in the exhibition, the photographs taken to document the protection of the art became art themselves. The sandbag walls and wooden structures built around precious sculptures and architectural features became art in themselves.
This exhibition, shown outside of Italy for the first time, has been organized by Istituto Per La Storia Del Risorgimento Italiano, Roma, the Embassy of Italy, Washington D.C., and the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago.
Photographic exhibit at the Kansas City (MO), National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
November 18th, 2014 | February 17th, 2015
SOURCE: NATIONAL WORLD WAR I MUSEUM AT LIBERTY MEMORIAL