First Ever US exhibition of Renaissance Painter Carlo Crivelli Opens at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice runs Oct. 22, 2015 – Jan. 25, 2016

Carlo Crivelli (about 1435–about 1495) is one of the most important – and historically neglected – artists of the Italian Renaissance. Distinguished by radically expressive compositions, luxuriant ornamental display, and bravura illusionism, his works push the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Crivelli manipulated the surface of each one with rare mastery of his medium, crafting visionary encounters with the divine, forging the modern icon, and offering a powerful alternative to new models of painting associated with Florence.

The exhibition brings together 23 paintings and the artist’s only known drawing. Newly cleaned and restored, the Gardner’s iconic Saint George Slaying the Dragon is the focal point for a two-part installation. The first reunites four of six surviving panels from Crivelli’s Porto San Giorgio altarpiece, of which the Gardner painting is a fragment. The second part introduces visitors to the artist’s repertoire of dazzling pictorial effects with some of his most important works in Europe and the United States.

carlo-crivelli-virgin-and-child-circa1480Included in Ornament and Illusion are unprecedented loans from The National Gallery, London; the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt; the Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Together, the works assembled in Boston reveal the artist’s astonishing skill, encompassing artistic vision, and relentless ambition, restoring Crivelli to his rightful place in the pantheon of Renaissance painters.

Crivelli was esteemed in his own time as a painter of rank and status. Born in Venice, he trained locally and joined a workshop in the mainland city of Padua, learning from the same master as the celebrated artist Andrea Mantegna (1430/1–1506). Exiled for adultery shortly after returning to Venice in 1457, Crivelli then embarked on a peripatetic career. Early successes on both sides of the Adriatic led to prestigious commissions in the Marches, a mountainous region of northeast Italy defined by its religious and ethnic diversity and ruled by competing feudal lords. He signed the immense high altarpieces for the cathedrals of Ascoli Piceno, in 1473, and Camerino, around 1490. Recognized for his remarkable artistic accomplishments with the aristocratic title of “knight,” Crivelli died around 1494.

The exhibition is organized by guest co-curator Stephen J. Campbell (Henry and Elizabeth Wiesenfeld Professor, Johns Hopkins University), guest co-curator Oliver Tostmann (Susan Morse Hills Curator of European Art, Wadsworth Athenaeum), and Nathaniel Silver (Assistant Curator of the Collection, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum).

Ornament and Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice is accompanied by a catalog edited by Stephen J. Campbell. Seven essays challenge the prevailing view of Crivelli as a provincial artist working in an anachronistic “gothic” style, investigate the facture of his paintings, and shed new light on his rediscovery by collectors. Catalog entries deliver new insights and up-to-date bibliography for each work in the exhibition. Contributing authors include C. Jean Campbell (Emory University), Francesco De Carolis (Università di Bologna), Thomas Golsenne (École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Nice), Gianfranco Pocobene (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), and Alison Wright (University College London).


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way, Boston MA, 02115

Hirshhorn’s “Le Onde: Waves of Italian Influence (1914–1971)”

Showing Rare or Never-Before-Seen Works
Collection Works Highlight Trends from Futurism to Arte Povera

“Le Onde: Waves of Italian Influence (1914–1971)” runs Aug. 22–Jan. 3, 2016, at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. This exhibition of nearly 20 works from the museum’s collection follows Italian contributions to the transnational evolution of abstraction, through movements and tendencies such as futurism, spatialism, op art and kinetic art.

The exhibition includes several works that have been exhibited only rarely or not at all since entering the collection. Among those that have not been on view since the Hirshhorn’s inaugural exhibition in 1974–1975 are works by Zero group founder Heinz Mack, French op artist Yvaral and Italian painter Carlo Battaglia and several works by Italian artist Enrico Castellani.

“Joseph H. Hirshhorn was a visionary collector whose generosity made possible a museum of modern and contemporary art on the National Mall,” said Melissa Chiu, director of the museum. “This exhibition celebrates his legacy and underscores his commitment to Italian art.”

“The Embassy of Italy in Washington is proud to be supporting this exhibition,” said Claudio Bisogniero, Italy’s ambassador to the United States. “For centuries, Italian artists have been cultural innovators whose ideas have reverberated around the world. ‘Le Onde’ sheds light on their contributions in the 20th century.”

A pivotal figure in the exhibition is Lucio Fontana, who was born in Argentina to Italian parents and divided his career between the two countries. “The pursuit of art forms that embraced the energy and ideas of a technological age was an international phenomenon, and Fontana was central to developments not only in Italy but throughout Europe and Latin America,” said Mika  Yoshitake, an assistant curator at the museum, who co-organized the exhibition with Hirshhorn curator Kelly Gordon.

In addition, Fontana was an active teacher and theorist, the influence of his ideas also extending to artists on either side of the Atlantic, among them Brazilian sculptor Sérgio Camargo and Argentinian-born French artist Julio Le Parc, who studied under him in Buenos Aires. Fontana’s installations and writings helped inspire the Parisian collective GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel/Group for Visual Art Research), whose members undertook experiments that often had scientific overtones, such as François Morellet’s “Wave Motion Thread” (1965), which manifests mechanical vibrations in the form of a standing wave.

Fontana is best known for spatialist paintings in which the integrity of the picture plane is violated by slashes or holes. Three of these “Spatial Concepts” from 1967 are on view. These works inspired a generation of Italian artists that included Giò Pomodoro, whose towering fiberglass relief “Opposition” (1968) is marked with bulges and indentations, and Castellani, whose monochrome paintings have taut and pristine surfaces punctuated by nailheads.

From the vantage point of the mid-century, the exhibition looks back to the work of Italian futurists such as Giacomo Balla, whose “Sculptural Construction of Noise and Speed” (1914–1915)/(reconstructed 1968) attempted to capture the dynamism of the machine age in material form. And it looks forward in time to the exploration of immateriality by artists associated with Arte Povera, such as Giovanni Anselmo, whose “Invisible” (1971) is a slide projection that shoots the Italian word “visibile” (visible, evident, apparent) into space, so that it comes into view only when a visitor steps in front of it and becomes the screen.

“Le Onde: Waves of Italian Influence (1914–1971)” is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, with support from the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by Gangemi that contains texts from Gordon, Yoshitake and Renato Miracco, cultural attaché for the embassy

Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence

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”.

Piero di Cosimo, Liberation of Andromeda, c. 1510-1513 Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Piero di Cosimo, Liberation of Andromeda, c. 1510-1513
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Alinari / Art Resouce, NY


War & Art. Destruction and Protection of Italian Cultural Heritage During World War I

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.

Museum in Aquileia

Paul Adams of the Journal visiting the Museum in Aquileia, accompanied by the journalist Ugo Ojetti, 1916

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


At National Museum of Women in the Arts, Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea

Landmark exhibition explores images of Virgin Mary by renowned Renaissance and Baroque artists.

Appearing throughout the entire world, her image is immediately recognizable. In the history of Western art, she was one of the most popular subjects for centuries. On view Dec. 5, 2014–April 12, 2015, Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea, is a landmark exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), bringing together masterworks from major museums, churches and private collections in Europe and the United States. Iconic and devotional, but also laden with social and political meaning, the image of the Virgin Mary has influenced Western sensibility since the sixth century.

Picturing Mary examines how the image of Mary was portrayed by well-known Renaissance and Baroque artists, including Botticelli, Dürer, Michelangelo, Pontormo, Gentileschi and Sirani. More than 60 paintings, sculptures and textiles are on loan from the Vatican Museums, Musée du Louvre, Galleria degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and other public and private collections—many exhibited for the first time in the United States.

“Among the most important subjects in Western art for more than a millennium was a young woman: Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her name was given to cathedrals, her face imagined by painters and her feelings explored by poets,” said exhibition curator and Marian scholar Monsignor Timothy Verdon, director, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy. “This exhibition will explore the concept of womanhood as represented by the Virgin Mary, and the power her image has exerted through time, serving both sacred and social functions during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.”

Picturing Mary is the newest project in an ongoing program of major historical loan exhibitions organized by NMWA, including An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum (2003) and Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and other French National Collections (2012). In addition to illustrating the work of women artists, NMWA also presents exhibitions and programs about feminine identity and women’s broader contributions to culture. Picturing Mary extends, in particular, the humanist focus of Divine and Human: Women in Ancient Mexico and Peru, a large-scale exhibition organized by NMWA in 2006.



Art Basel Miami Beach 2014

Art Basel’s 13th edition in Miami Beach closed today, Sunday, December 7, 2014, amidst strong praise from gallerists, private collectors, museum groups and the media. Highlights of the show included the introduction of the new Survey sector, which brought 13 art-historical projects to the fair, including many rare works never before exhibited in an art fair context; and Art Basel’s staging with performa of Ryan McNamara’s ‘MEƎM 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About the Internet’ at the Miami Grand Theater. Solid sales were reported across all levels of the market and throughout the run of the show.

Featuring 267 leading international galleries from 31 countries, the show – whose Lead Partner is UBS – attracted an attendance of 73,000 over five days. Attendees included representatives of over 160 museum and institution groups from across the world – and a surging number of new private collectors from the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Following a 100 percent reapplication rate for the Galleries sector and with new galleries coming from across the world, the list of exhibitors was the strongest to date in Miami Beach, firmly solidifying the show’s position as the leading international art fair of the Americas.

Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler


In Washington DC, at the Hirshhorn, July 17, 2014 to January 11, 2015 (Lower Level)
A fascinating and singular figure in postwar art, Salvatore Scarpitta (1919–2007) created a powerful body of work that ranges from nonobjective abstraction to radical realism. Scarpitta’s career linked the worlds of art and car racing, moving from the avant-garde cultural circles of postwar Rome to the banked dirt oval speedways of rural Maryland and Pennsylvania. Focusing on his shaped and wrapped canvases, race cars, and sleds, Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler illuminates themes that occupied the artist throughout his life: risk, movement, death, and rebirth. Deeply admired in Europe where he began his career, Scarpitta has yet to be fully recognized in his native United States. This will be the first solo presentation of his work at an American museum in over a decade, and the first ever on the East Coast.

A free public opening takes place Thursday, July 17, from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Galleries open at 7:30 pm, providing the public their first opportunity to view Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler. A competitive sprint car will be parked on the Plaza, where Scarpitta driver Greg O’Neill talks about racing at 8 pm. Hirshhorn assistant curator Melissa Ho leads an exhibition tour at 9 pm. The documentary “Art & Racing: The Work and Life of Salvatore Scarpitta” screens continuously throughout the evening. Barbecue and beer will be available for purchase on the Plaza. The other exhibitions on the museum’s Lower Level, Black Box: Oliver Laric and Directions: Jeremy Deller, will also be open.

Scarpitta in Context: Germano Celant and Paul Schimmel in Conversation takes place Wednesday, October 8, at 7 pm in the Ring Auditorium. Co-curator of the 2012 retrospective Salvatore Scarpitta at the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin and a personal friend of the artist for decades, Celant is artistic director of the Prada Foundation and senior curator of contemporary art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Schimmel is former chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and organizer of Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962, which included early works by Scarpitta. He also knew the artist well, having first met Scarpitta in the 1970s.

“Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler” is made possible in part with the generous support of Buzz Beler, the Holenia Trust, and the Hirshhorn Exhibition Fund. The exhibition brochure is generously underwritten by Kristin and Howard Johnson and the Italian Cultural Institute

Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler is made possible in part with the generous support of the Estate of Frank B. Gettings, in memory of Nancy Kirkpatrick and Frank Gettings; C.P. Beler, the Holenia Trust, and the Hirshhorn Exhibition Fund. The exhibition brochure is generously underwritten by Kristin and Howard Johnson and the Italian Cultural Institute on the occasion of Italy’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July 1 through December 31, 2014.


SOURCE:  Hirshhorn

Titian’s Danaë in Washington inaugurates Italy’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The Danaë (1544-45) by Titian, one of the masterpieces that best represents the Italian Renaissance, marked the inauguration today, in the nation’s capital, of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Representatives of the U.S. administration, members of the diplomatic corps, and the press gathered at the National Gallery of Art, where the work will be on exhibit until November 2.

Amb Claudio Bisogniero at National Gallery of Art

“The Italian Presidency of the cycle coincides with a new institutional framework within the European Union and will have as its priority economic growth and the creation of new jobs,” noted Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Claudio Bisogniero. “The term will also be important,” he added, “in strengthening the partnership between Europe and the USA, for example, as regards the TTIP negotiations, the future transatlantic agreement on trade and investment.”

“We are delighted to host a masterpiece such as the Danaë ,” declared Franklin Kelly, Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Art, who also pointed out that the Gallery has the largest Titian collection in the United States.

The event was organized by the Italian Embassy in Washington and the National Gallery of Art, in collaboration with the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, which loaned the work of art, and the Superintendence for the National Museums System of Naples and the Caserta Royal Palace. The exhibition, part of the Italy in US campaign (, was made possible by the generous contribution of Intesa Sanpaolo and the collaboration of the Berlucchi and Ferrero Groups.

The Danaë exhibition is the first in a series of events in the U.S. organized by the Italian Embassy in Washington to celebrate Italy’s semester at the Presidency of the European Union ( From now through December 2014, events are planned not only in the fields of art and culture, but also as related to the economy, innovation, science, and public diplomacy. Among these activities is a conference on “Employment, Growth, and Quality Jobs: a Transatlantic Discussion” at the Peterson Institute that will compare the economic strategies of Europe and the U.S. and a series of meetings on the 450th anniversary of Galileo Galilei.

Titian’s Danaë in DC to Celebrate Italian Presidency of EU Council

To celebrate the commencement of Italy’s presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), the Italian government is bringing to Washington’s National Gallery of Art, one of the most sensual paintings of the Italian Renaissance—Titian’s Danaë (1544–1545).

“We are very pleased to continue our excellent cooperation with a prestigious institution such as the National Gallery in Washington on the occasion of the presentation of Titian’s Danaë,” said the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero. “We are particularly delighted that this exhibition will launch in the U.S. the Italian Presidency of the European Union, an important opportunity also to further strengthen the friendship between the two sides of the Atlantic.”

“The richness of the Gallery’s collection of Venetian 16th-century painting includes the largest holdings in the United States of works by Titian and his studio, with 13 paintings, eight prints, and two drawings,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “We are most grateful for the generosity of the Capodimonte Museum in Naples and are pleased to present the Danae in such close proximity to other related works by Titian, celebrating the genius and legacy of one of the world’s most influential painters.”

The Danaë is one of several examples of the genre of erotic mythologies in Western art popularized by Titian. Two other examples of this genre by Titian from the Gallery’s permanent collection—Venus with a Mirror (c. 1555) and Venus and Adonis (c. 1560)—are also on view in the West Building, in gallery M-23.

“The Special Superintendency for Historic, Artistic and Ethno-anthropologic Properties of the City of Naples Museum Hub and the Palace of Caserta is particularly pleased to collaborate in this extraordinary event for promoting the excellence of Italian culture in the United States,” said Fabrizio Vona, superintendent, Cultural Heritage for the City and the Museums of Naples and the Royal Palace of Caserta.

The painting will be on loan from the Capodimonte Museum, Naples— and will be on view July 1 through November 2, 2014, in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. Italy’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union runs from July 1 through December 31, 2014.

Titian (c. 1488/90–1576)

In a career that spanned more than 70 years, Tiziano Vecellio (called Titian in English) was the greatest force in Venetian Renaissance painting. Born around 1490 in the town of Pieve di Cadore in the Italian Alps, Titian moved at an early age to Venice to study art. After training briefly with a mosaicist, he studied with Giovanni Bellini, the leading painter of his generation. Titian was influenced not only by Bellini’s use of rich color but also by the pastoral and mythological scenes of fellow Bellini pupil Giorgione.

By 1510, Titian had established himself as an independent master and, after Bellini’s death, he was appointed official painter to the Venetian Republic. Following a number of commissions for the courts of Ferrara, Mantua, and Urbino, Titian’s fame spread internationally. His patrons included the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Philip II of Spain, Francis I of France, and Pope Paul III.

Titian was a master in all painted genres. He produced dignified and insightful portraits, Madonnas of modesty and charm, playful mythological pictures, sensuous nudes, and meditative religious works. Titian died in 1576 and was buried in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, where his dramatic altarpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin (1516–1518), had been installed nearly 60 years before.

Danaë (1544–1545)

The loves of the gods were a favorite theme of Titian’s princely patrons. During the course of his long career, he became the greatest and most influential interpreter of these amorous episodes, drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and other literary texts.

A celebration of the recumbent female nude, the Danaë depicts the legendary maiden, in bed and about to receive Jupiter, the king of the gods. Lured by reports of her beauty, Jupiter appears to her in the guise of a shower of gold coins.

Commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, grandson of Pope Paul III, the painting was completed during a visit Titian made to Rome in 1545–1546. Wealthy and worldly, Alessandro Farnese was both a distinguished patron of the arts and a notorious womanizer with a mistress (a courtesan named Angela). At a time when ecclesiastics were under fire for their licentious and corrupt ways, it was prudent to transform an all-too-contemporary courtesan into a mythological figure whose nudity was sanctioned by classical precedent.

The Danaë was looted by German troops on behalf of Field Marshal Hermann Göring during the Second World War and was discovered afterward in the Austrian salt mine at Alt Aussee. The canvas was brought to the Munich Central Collecting Point by the so-called Monuments Men in 1945 and returned to the Italian government two years later.

SOURCE: NGA et al.

Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget


Ralph Fasanella (1914-1997) celebrated the common man and tackled complex issues of postwar America in colorful, socially-minded paintings. This exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth and brings together key works from a career spanning 52 years. Fasanella, an Italian American,  was born in the Bronx and grew up in the working-class neighborhoods of New York; he became a tireless advocate for laborers’ rights, first as a union organizer and later as a painter.

From May 2, 2014 – August 3, 2014 at the American Art Museum, Washington, DC.



Caravaggio Exhibition at the Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg

This February visitors to the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary will have a rare opportunity to view three famous paintings by, or attributed to, Caravaggio and take sides in an intense debate among the world’s leading authorities on Italian paintings.

Two nearly identical versions of Caravaggio’s Saint Francis in Meditation that have left experts divided. Despite years of debate, the experts are divided as to which one of these two beautiful paintings was created first… and by whom? Which one is the original? Could they both be by the great Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio?

The two paintings on special loan from Rome’s Capuchin church and from the town of Carpineto Romano will be shown side by side, affording a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Williamsburg audience to compare them. The exhibition will be completed by another of Caravaggio’s best-known compositions, the Fortune Teller, on loan from the Pinacoteca Capitolina in Rome. Although disputed by the experts until as recently as 1985, this painting is now recognized as a milestone in Caravaggio’s representation of daily life, not to mention a characteristic example of his style shortly after his arrival in
Rome in the early 1590s.

At the end of the 1500s, in the same years that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, Caravaggio painted Saint Francis in solitary dialogue with a skull. Caravaggio’s conception of the theme was so arresting that a profusion of copies were made, both during his lifetime and long afterwards. As with many of Caravaggio’s compositions, the conception of the theme was so arresting that numerous copies were made, even during his lifetime. The two competing paintings in this exhibition encapsulate the problems faced by scholars in attributing, dating and interpreting the works of the revolutionary realist, Caravaggio. Michelangelo Merisi (Milan 1571 – 1610 Port’Ercole) was known by the name of Caravaggio, the rural town in Lombardy where his family lived and worked. As an apprentice in Milan, Caravaggio ignored his contemporaries and looked instead to the Renaissance masters, Leonardo da Vinci, Giorgione and Titian, who inspired him to illustrate the Bible stories as contemporary events in recognizable settings. Perhaps Caravaggio’s greatest innovation was to portray his friends and models in his canvases, as if the ancient stories had been enacted by ordinary people under the brilliant sun of

‘Caravaggio Connoisseurship: Saint Francis in Meditation and the Capitoline Fortune Teller’ includes a didactic section in which explanatory texts and photographic enlargements present the cases for the differing points of view, equipping visitors to see the works with the eyes of a connoisseur and judge for themselves. An online poll will be set up in the gallery to registrar every visitor’s vote.

An illustrated booklet with texts by John T. Spike (assistant director and chief curator of the Muscarelle Museum of Art) and Sergio Guarino (curator of the Capitoline Museum) will be available.

General Information
Caravaggio Connoisseurship: Saint Francis in Meditation and the Capitoline Fortune Teller will be on view at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, February 8-April 6, 2014. The Muscarelle Museum of Art is located at 603 Jamestown Road on the campus of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. For more information, call 757-221-2700 or visit
The exhibition will be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from April 12 – June 15,

Caravaggio, The Fortune Teller (ca. 1594-95): On view at the Muscarelle Museum of Art; on loan from the Musei Capitoline Pinacoteca, Rome

Piero della Francesca’s Devotional Paintings Featured in New Exhibition Opening at the Metropolitan Museum on January 14

Through a special collaboration with the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, and the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will host a focused presentation on the devotional paintings of Piero della Francesca, addressing Piero’s work for private devotion for the first time. The four works on view have never before been brought together; the exhibition, therefore, promises to make an important contribution to the study of this major figure of the Renaissance. Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters, on view at the Metropolitan Museum beginning January 14, will consist of the following paintings: Saint Jerome and a Donor from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice; Madonna and Child with Two Angels (the Senigallia Madonna) from the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino; Saint Jerome in a Landscape from the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin; and Madonna and Child from a

Piero della Francesca – The Senigallia Madonna and Child with Two Angels

private collection in New York.

The exhibition is made possible by the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture (FIAC). It was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with FIAC, in celebration of the opening of the New European Paintings Galleries, 1250-1800.

The loan of the Madonna di Senigallia is by arrangement with the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo and the Italian Carabinieri Command (CCTPC), working together with la Soprintendenza per i Beni Storici Artistici ed Etnoantropologici delle Marche – Urbino, as part of 2013 – Italian Year of Culture in the United States.

Dates:  January 14 – March 30, 2014


More on Piero della Francesca on Wikepedia