Complementing the drawings shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year is this exhibition at the Strozzi Palace featuring fifty-four of Bronzino’s seventy paintings: the largest exhibition of the Florentine master’s work to date. The son of a butcher, Agnolo di Cosimo Tori (1503-1572), nicknamed “Bronzino”, spent the bulk of his career in the Medici court until Giorgio Vasari succeeded him in 1564. Vasari in fact plays a large role in this show, as curators Cristina Acidini, Carlo Falciani, and Antonio Natali rely heavily on information contained in his biography of Bronzino. The pictures themselves tell much of the story, demonstrating that the artist is not readily classifiable as a Mannerist given his tendency towards natural, austere beauty in affectedly bright colors.
Articles by Daniel B. Gallagher
Caravaggio’s power to captivate us today makes us wonder whether he was not four hundred years ahead of his time. This anniversary exhibition, perhaps more than others across Italy, shows that he was not. His genius was readily recognized and tirelessly sought even during his own day, and even by the Grand Dukes of Florence who had every reason to restrict their patronage to the their own well-established Tuscan tradition. So while artists in Florence remained aloof to the emerging naturalism and quotidian predilections of Caravaggio and the Caravaggeschi, their rulers worked assiduously to acquire the master’s Bacchus, Medusa, and Cavadenti within the first two decades of the seventeenth century. Evidently, the Medici even had it in mind to lure Caravaggio to Florence; something they might well have accomplished had not the painter been forced to flee Rome as a wanted murderer. In his stead, the Grand Dukes enjoyed the presence of protégés such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Battistello Caracciolo, and Theodor Rombouts.
The temporary closure of the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo for renovations has made it possible for Rome to host a portion of its prestigious collection in Bramante’s charming urban cloister. The exhibit spans more than two centuries of Venetian painting — from Bellini and Carpaccio to Tiepolo and the vedutisti — elegantly arranged by Giovanni Federico Villa and Giovanni Valagussa, with an ambitious catalogue.
The shows in Italy honoring the four-hundredth anniversary of Caravaggio’s death have been so popular that authorities at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence have announced they are extending “Caravaggio e Caravaggeschi” at the Galleria Palatina until January 9th. Pilgrims can also take advantage of “Caravaggio e altri pittori del XVII secolo” at Castel Sismondo in Rimini until March 28th.
"I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.” So sings Don McLean in the 1970 hit written while he was working for the Berkshire School District. The tune has come to immortalize Van Gogh as a stridently independent artist who struggled with sanity and took his life “as lovers often do.” Cornelia Homburg has put together a show in Rome to demonstrate that, pace McLean, the legendary painter did in fact believe the world was meant for him, and he was not that independent in his approach to painting. He may have suffered extreme uncertainty in his private life, but Vincent had a clear vision of his professional goals and how he was going to achieve them.
I have long deemed Munich’s Alte Pinakothek one of the most underrated museums in Europe. Thanks to aristocratic connoisseurs like William IV, Maximilian I, and Ludwig I, the city now boasts an outstanding collection of Renaissance, Dutch, and Flemish masterpieces. The museum is well complimented by Alexander Freiherr von Branca’s Neue Pinakothek and Stephan Braunfels’s Pinakothek der Moderne since 2002. In fact, these robust institutions have allowed Munich’s Kunstareal to rise above the current economic crisis as promising young talent finds a slow but steady stream of patrons.
There is more to the exhibit currently underway at the Palazzo di Venezia than meets the eye. What it lacks in size it makes up for in importance. Composed mainly of statuary and reliefs by Donatello, Andrea Bregno, Michelangelo and their pupils, it focuses on the underappreciated stylistic transition that took place from 1460 to 1520 in Roman workshops as they moved, roughly speaking, from the purity of classicism, to the sublimity of humanism, to the energy of Renaissance rationalism.
Museums throughout Italy are hosting exhibits to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Merisi: the so-called “Caravaggio.” The year began in Rome with Caravaggio and Bacon at the Galleria Borghese (http://berkshirereview.net/2010/01/caravaggio-e-bacon-galleria-borghese-rome/) and the slightly less contrived, but equally imaginative, “Caravaggio-Lotto-Ribera” at the Musei Civici agli Eremitani in Padova. Naples spread six thematically related exhibits throughout the city to highlight the connections between Caravaggio and late-Baroque Neapolitan masters like Luigi Vanvitelli and Ferdinando Fuga (Ritorno al Barocco, da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli). The Palatina Gallery in Florence is featuring Caravaggio e Caravaggeschi until October 10th, after which several of those works will move to Rimini for Caravaggio e altri pittori del XVII secolo. Perhaps most notable was an exhibit that recently closed at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. Conceived by Claudio Strinati and organized by Rossella Vodret and Francesco Buranelli, it featured a unique collection of Caravaggio’s most famous works collected from museums worldwide. A record 4,000 visitors thronged to see these masterpieces on opening day, well exceeding the 2,500 printed tickets.