The Renaissance in Rome: In the Footsteps of Michelangelo and Raphael
If you are in Rome and haven't yet had a chance to visit the wonderful exhibit, Il Rinascimento a Roma, nel Segno di Michelangelo e Raffaello, at Palazzo Sciarra, I suggest you high-tail it over there soon, because in just a few weeks it will be over and the amazing works will be shipped back from whence they came. I generally try to post about each exhibit just as they are beginning, but somehow this one got lost in the shuffle for me, and I apologize that I am just getting around to write about it now.
One of the reasons I haven't written about this exhibit yet is the sheer enormity of the subject. Art in the 1500s in Rome. Where does one begin? Mannerism is like God: At first you think you understand it. Then, the more you learn, the more you realize how little you actually know.
It has also come to my attention recently that my blog posts are far too long. So instead of risking writing words no one will ever read, today I will simply give you a preview of the highlights of the exhibit with as little commentary as possible. However, a few of the works I found particularly intriguing and I do want to write about them further, but I will do it one by one in the following days, for your sake, dear bloglings, as well as my own.
There are three versions of the Holy Family by Perin del Vaga presented at the exhibit, but this one is by far the most beautiful in my opinion. This is also the earliest, and therefore the most likely to have been inspired by the artist's mentor, Raphael.
He looks awfully sad in this self-portrait for someone who had a famously happy life.
This cherub is a fragment of a fresco that has been removed from its place of origin. I have no information on where it originally lived, but I am guessing a church, since it curves inward toward the top. The fresco has been anchored to a slab of cadorite, and reinforced with aluminum brackets. I always cringe when I see transported frescoes. I am stunned they even attempt it as it seems so risky. Still, as most detailed frescoes are ususually high off the ground, having this at eye level gives you a great opportunity to see the minute details, such as cracks and brushstrokes, of a fresco.
Have you seen this face somewhere before? According to the audio-guide at the exhibit, he made an appearance in The School of Athens. Can you find him? As you can see from this portrait, he suffered from astigmatism.
Sebastiano del Piombo adored Michelangelo, as the older artist had befriended him when he first arrived in Rome. Michelangelo, on at least four occasions, provided Sebastiano with designs that the later used for his own works.
This is one of the highlights of the exhibition. This painting, tempera on wood panel, belongs to a middle class family in upstate New York and apparently lived behind a couch for several years. Is it really the work of Michelangelo? What do you think?
This copy of Michelangelo's Last Judgement shows what the original looked like before Daniele da Volterra (the "breeches painter") was forced to censor it.
This unfinished work is considered by some to be a depiction of David, and by others Apollo. Which do you think? More importantly, have you ever heard of this work before? Or seen an image of it? I know I hadn't and my heart skipped a beat when I saw it.
How would you like to find a coin like this stuck between two cobblestones?
This was the last work in the exhibit and my favorite. I'll write more about it soon and have purposefully not included a caption. What does it remind you of? Does it make you as happy as it makes me (i.e. a lot)?
All images provided courtesy of Arthemesia Group press office.