Fortuna del Barocco in Italia. Le grandi mostre del Novecento

Book Launch: Proceedings of November 2016 Conference

Fortuna del barocco book launch invitation
As the work on the research project Antico / Moderno. Parigi, Roma, Torino 1680-1750 concludes, the second publication arising from the project will be presented at the Salone del Libro in Turin on 10 May at 16:30. Volume 2 in the series Quaderni di Ricerca of the Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura collects the conference proceedings from the November 2016 conference Fortuna del Barocco in Italia. Le grandi mostre del Novecento.

My contribution to the volume consists of a response to the talk by Joseph Connors entitled “Il barocco in Italia visto dall’estero. Le mostre di architettura.” View details of the other essays comprising the book in the table of contents. Looking forward to this volume documenting a very stimulating conference!

Publication

Di Macco, Michela, and Giuseppe Dardanello, editors. Fortuna del Barocco in Italia. Le grandi mostre del Novecento. Fondazione 1563, Quaderni di ricerca 2. Genoa: Sagep Editori, 2019.

Other news from the Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e per la Cultura

● This is a great chance to note the new Summer School organized by the Fondazione 1563, entitled “Ripensare il Barocco (secoli XVII e XVIII). Nuove prospettive storico-critiche.” The Summer School takes place in Turin from 2-7 September 2019 and the deadline for applications is 31 May 2019. For more information, see the call for applications in Italian or English.

● The Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e per la Cultura has also recently announced the seventh edition of its annual program of fellowships for postdocs or advanced doctoral candidates in baroque studies, Borse di alti studi sull’Età e la Cultura del Barocco Intitolate a Rosaria Cigliano: VII Bando – Edizione 2019. The five annual fellowships support emerging scholars under the age of 35. The application deadline this year is 27 July 2019. For more information, see the call for applications in Italian or English.

Guercino and the Theatines

guercino_madonna_santi-modena

Guercino, Madonna with the Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory the Wonderworker, c. 1630 (San Vincenzo, Modena).
Image: Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Earlier this month, Italian media reported (here, here, or here) that a stolen painting by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) of the Madonna with Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory the Wonderworker had been recovered in Casablanca. The altarpiece disappeared from San Vincenzo in Modena in August 2014, prompting heavy criticism of security measures at the former Theatine church. San Vincenzo happens to be the home church of Guarino Guarini, where he first joined the Theatine order as a novice in November 1639, and to which he returned for his ordination and first years as a priest beginning in 1647.

The altarpiece had been commissioned by the d’Este family in Modena – perhaps during the brief reign of Duke Alfonso III d’Este in the late 1620s. The painting was completed and installed in the first chapel on the left, dedicated to St. Gregory, in 1630.

This thus makes it the earliest of three works by the painter from Cento commissioned for Theatine churches in the region. An altarpiece of The Vocation of Saint Aloysius (Luigi) Gonzaga, dated c. 1650, was originally located in the right transept of the Theatines’ Santa Maria del Castello in Guastalla, and is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  It too was a prestigious ducal commission, in this case by by Duke Ferrante III Gonzaga. The unusual inclusion of a beatified Jesuit in a Theatine church can be explained by the duke’s desire to promote the cult of his distant relative, canonized only in 1726. Guarini would have seen the painting in December 1656, when he is recorded in Guastalla (Sandonnini 494-495).

guercinoguastallamet

Guercino, The Vocation of Saint Aloysius (Luigi) Gonzaga, ca. 1650
Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art / public domain

The third altarpiece by Guercino (1591-1666) at a Theatine church in his native region is found in Santa Maria della Pietà in Ferrara. The painting depicting the Purification of the Virgin was commissioned by the lawyer Claudio Bertazzoli for his family chapel in the church in 1654, with the final payment recorded the following year. The painting remains in the church today, the third altar on the left.

guercino_-_virgin_and_child_with_four_saints_-_wga10952

Guercino, Virgin and Child with Four Saints, ca. 1649.51
Image: Louvre / Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Of course, the Theatines were not the only people or institution in what is now present-day Emilia-Romagna to commission works by the accomplished local artist. Much of the responsibility for the commissions mentioned here resided with their wealthy or aristocratic patrons. For instance, in 1649 the d’Este ordered another painting from the artist for the church of San Pietro Martire in Modena (today in the Louvre). This altarpiece depicts the Madonna and Child with the four patron saints of Modena: San Geminiano, San Giovanni Battista, San Giorgio, and San Pietro Martire.

The central years of Guercino’s career also happened to coincide with the construction and furnishing of these churches begun exactly four centuries ago: the one in Guastalla was founded in 1616, while those in Modena and Ferrara were both founded in 1617. Although a general overview of seventeenth-century Theatine artistic policies remains to be written, these three examples show the order readily welcomed works of the highest quality when appropriate donors provided the necessary financial backing.

One big question remains: where should the painting recovered in Morocco go when it returns to Modena? According to the Gazzetta di Modena, the church of San Vincenzo still lacks adequate security measures. Some have suggested displaying it in a local museum such as the Galleria Estense, at least temporarily. In the meantime, the diocese is exploring ways to improve security at all of its churches.

By the way, the exhibition Guercino a Piacenza opens 4 March 2017 and runs until 4 June at the Palazzo Farnese in Piacenza. It also offers the opportunity to climb the dome of the cathedral to view the artist’s frescoes there up close.

* * *

Further reading:

Daniela Sinigalliesi, “La Madonna in trono con San Giovanni Evangelista e San Gregorio Taumaturgo di Giovanni Francesco Barbieri detto il Guercino,” in E. Corradini, E. Garzillo, G. Polidori, eds., La chiesa di San Vincenzo a Modena. Ecclesia Divi Vincentii, Modena: Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, 2001, pp. 136-141.

William M. Griswold, “Guercino“: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 48, no. 4 (Spring, 1991): 38-40.

Barbara Ghelfi, “Il talento naturale e la ricerca dell’equilibrio. Il Guercino a Ferrara,” MuseoinVita.

Fortuna del Barocco Conference Recap

The following material, mostly pulled from social media, offers a glimpse of the proceedings at the conference Fortuna del Barocco in Italia: Le grandi mostre del Novecento held in Turin last week (28-29 November 2016). Click here for the conference program. Thanks again to the conference convenors, Michela di Macco and Giuseppe Dardanello, as well as the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura for organizing and sponsoring such a stimulating event.

Monday, 28 November 2016

diana-trionfatricediana-logo

triumphbaroque

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

600lombardo1600lombardo2

600europeo

roma1630

ideabellobreveideabello2

The screening of a film documenting the legendary exhibition L’idea del Bello. Viaggio per Roma nel Seicento con Giovan Pietro Bellori (Rome, 2000) concluded the conference, before the closing discussion.

Postscript

Fortuna del Barocco in Italia

Historiography of Baroque Art in Twentieth-Century Exhibitions

conference-poster

As part of its Programma di studi sull’Età e la Cultura del Barocco, the Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura has organized the upcoming conference Fortuna del Barocco in Italia: Le grandi mostre del Novecento (Turin, 28-29 November 2016).

The conference, based on a related research project headed by Michela di Macco and Giuseppe Dardanello, will examine issues concerning the reception of Baroque painting, sculpture, and architecture in twentieth-century exhibitions. The first day of the conference features a special emphasis on the exhibitions of Piedmontese Baroque art and architecture in 1937, 1963, and 1989, as well as exhibitions of Baroque sculpture and architecture in general. The entire second day of the conference will be devoted to exhibitions of Italian Baroque painting as reflected in shows focusing on the various regional schools in places like Bologna or Naples.

Speakers include Tomaso Montanari and Joseph Connors, and special appearances will be made by the grandes dames of Piedmontese Baroque studies, Andreina Griseri and Mercedes Viale Ferrero. I am delighted to be participating as a respondent for the discussion of architectural exhibitions.

Download the conference program for full information about schedule and venue, as well as the contact for RSVP (by 23 November).


Newsreel clip showing the eighteenth-century Peota Bucintoro gondola of the Savoy being transported to the Palazzo Carignano, Turin, for the 1937 exhibition Mostra del Barocco Piemontese
Source: Cinecittà Luce / YouTube

You Gotta Have Art

Sign Petition to Save the Detroit Institute of Arts

The title of this old commercial for the Detroit Institute of Arts says it all: please sign this petition begun by Professor Jeffrey Hamburger of Harvard University and addressed to Mr. Kevyn Orr, Detroit emergency manager.  As a Detroit-area native and former DIA employee, this cause is very important to me.

Petition Text

Prevent sale of works from the Detroit Institute of Arts

Dear Mr. Orr,

We, the undersigned, write to express our profound dismay at the news that the city of Detroit is considering auctioning off the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts to meet the city’s obligations as part of the current bankruptcy proceedings. The Institute of Art’s collections are not only among the finest in the United States; they rank among the greatest in the world and contribute to the city’s international reputation. To sell them, in whole or in part, would seal the city’s shame, dispose of one of the most visible manifestations of its proud history, and inflict permanent, irreparable harm on the city as a center for culture, tourism and commerce. One doesn’t help a patient, even one who’s very sick, by cutting out his or her heart. We urge you to resist the pressures being brought to bear by creditors to resort to what would be an act of draconian cultural iconoclasm without parallel in modern times.

Yours sincerely,
Jeffrey Hamburger
Harvard University

Click here to add your name to the petition.