LISBON.- The history of this exhibition begins in April of 1866, when the pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) left his home in Chelsea, London, to evaluate a painting he had seen in a small antique shop. “A large landscape with about 120 figures of the school of Velasquez, [but] not, [I think], by the great V himself”, wrote the painter. The British art world had awakened to Spanish painting and collectors were on the lookout for works by great masters such as El Greco, Velázquez and Goya. Despite not recognising the city represented in the painting, Rossetti correctly guessed at its Iberian origin.
An article by Julia Dudkiewicz (“Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s collection of Old Masters at Kelmscott Manor” in The British Art Journal, vol. XVI, No. 2, 2015) confirms that these two paintings belonged to Rossetti’s collection. The historian reports that in May Morris’ (18621938) will – daughter of William Morris and heiress of Kelmscott Manor – a list of 220 objects is attached, with descriptions that encompass their provenance. The list includes the two paintings: “two pictures of scenes in a city, part of D. G. R.’s things”.
The paintings (currently owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London) have remained at Kelmscott Manor since the 19th century but the represented city was only identified in 2009, by Annemarie Jordan Gschwend and Kate Lowe. The first clue that led to its identification was the number of black people portrayed; in 16th century Europe, only Lisbon and a couple of Spanish cities had such a large percentage of Africans. The architectural details such as the tall narrow houses, the covered gallery with marble columns – 149 in total – and the iron railings led Lowe and Jordan to conclude that it was Lisbon. And, more specifically, Rua Nova dos Mercadores, Lisbon’s main trade street in the 16th century, full of merchants, acrobats, musicians, travelling salesmen, knights, jewels, silks, spices, exotic animals and other wonders imported from Africa, Brazil and Asia.
This exhibition aims to reconstitute the heart of Lisbon during the Renaissance with 249 pieces belonging to 77 lenders: 64 national (institutions and private collections) and 13 international (two private collections and 11 institutions, among them the British Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Museo Nacional del Prado, Leiden University Libraries and Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”).
On display for the first time in Portugal, the two paintings representing Rua Nova dos Mercadores open the first of the exhibition’s six sections: “Lisbon City Views: historical background”, “Novelties”, “From Africa”, “Shopping in Rua Nova”, “Animals from other worlds” and “Simão de Melo’s house”.
Of note within this surprising set of never before assembled pieces are the extraordinary and meticulous Panoramic View of Lisbon, c. 1570- -1580 (Leiden University Library), the Reliquary Casket containing the relics of Saint Vincent (Patriarchal Cathedral - Treasure, Lisbon), the View of Lisbon waterfront with the royal palace, the Paço da Ribeira, 1505 (Câmara Municipal de Cascais/ Condes de Castro de Guimarães Museum), the Euclidis Megarensis Philosophi atque Mathematici [...], mathematical works by Francisco de Melo, 1521 (Stadtarchiv der Hansestadt Stralsund), Terrestrial Paradise by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Museo del Prado), Processional Cross belonging to Catherine of Bragança containing the relics of Saint Thomas Becket (Vila Viçosa Ducal Palace) and the 1579 cameo, by Jacopo da Trezzo, representing King Manuel I’s rhinoceros (Guy Ladrière Collection).
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Monday, March 6, 2017
North Carolina Museum of Art March 4, 2017 – June 18, 2017
From the mid-1400s to early 1500s, artists forged a Renaissance style that was distinctly Venetian. Through this artistic evolution, the city became an internationally recognized model of pictorial excellence.
Titian, Madonna and Child with Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Dominic, and a Donor, about 1513. Oil on canvas; 53-7/8 × 72-1/2 in. Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Mamiano di Traversetolo, Parma, Italy. Courtesy of Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Mamiano di Traversetolo (Parma).
Artworks on view in the exhibition will emphasize how masters during this period—whose sensitivity toward color and light remained unparalleled for centuries—veered from traditional techniques and began using oil paint to experiment with depth, emotion and dimension in their work.
Glory of Venice features about 50 significant works, and provides visitors with a rare opportunity to experience 19 artworks from Venice’s Gallerie dell’Accademia, which houses one of the greatest collections of Venetian Renaissance art in the world.
Additional masterworks on view include paintings on loan from the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice and the Fondazione Magnani Rocca in Parma, Italy, as well as signature paintings from the DAM’s collection.
Artworks include Christ Carrying the Cross by Giorgione, on loan from the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice,
and Sacred Conversation by Titian, from the Fondazione Magnani Rocca in Parma, Italy.
Daily guided tours of Glory of Venice will be offered throughout the exhibition at 1 p.m. Tours are included in museum admission and no reservations are required. A fully illustrated publication, produced by the DAM, will accompany the exhibition.
Giovanni Bellini, Annunciation, early 1500. Oil on canvas; 88 × 42 in., each. Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice.
Attributed to Sebastino del Piombo, Madonna and Child with Saints Catherine and John the Baptist, about 1505-1508. Oil on panel; 20-1/8 × 31-7/8 in. Gallerie dell’Accademia
A fully illustrated catalog, published by the DAM, will accompany the exhibition. Essays detailing Glory of Venice: Masterworks of the Renaissance will be included in the catalog by exhibition co-curators Angelica Daneo and Dr. Giovanna Damiani.