Events & Exhibitions / Palazzo Madama
ANDREA MANTEGNA. Making Antiquity Modern
The major exhibition dedicated to Andrea Mantegna (b. Isola di Carturo 1431 – d. Mantua 1506), one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance. In his paintings, he successfully matched his passion for classical antiquity with bold perspective experiments and outstanding realism in his portrayal of the human figure. Works of art of a unique artistic season – the Renaissance in the Po Valley, first in Padua and then in Mantua –, which relived ancient art and built modern art, are brought together around Mantegna’s works.
The exhibition covers the artistic career of this great painter, from his prodigious early years to his well-established role as a court artist with the Gonzagas. It is divided into six sections highlighting some specific moments in his career, as well as some significant aspects of his interests and artistic personality. At the same time, some less investigated issues – i.e. the relationship between Mantegna, architecture and scholars – will also be presented.
Visitors are thus provided with a comprehensive overview of Mantegna’s works and personality. Mantegna had quite uniquely trained himself by thoroughly and directly studying Donatello's works in Padua, becoming familiar with the works by Jacopo Bellini and his sons – in particular brilliant Giovanni – as well as with innovative Florentine and Flemish painting, and finally by studying ancient sculpture.
In particular, Mantegna’s role as a court artist in Mantua will be focused upon, together with the dense network of relations and friendships with writers and scholars he had created, which made him a recognized and important interlocutor in his contemporary cultural landscape, capable of shaping the moral and aesthetic values of the humanists.
Impressive multimedia projections precede and complement the exhibition in the Medieval Court of Palazzo Madama. In this way, visitors are offered an immersive experience in Mantegna’s life, places, and works. Even some of Mantegna’s masterpieces may be enjoyed, which, due to their nature or delicate preservation conditions, could not be displayed: from the Ovetari Chapel in Padua to the very famous Camera Picta, as well as other works in his house in Mantua, and the great ancient-style cycle on the Triumphs of Caesar.
Therefore, the Piano Nobile of Palazzo Madama hosts the exhibition of Mantegna’s works, starting with the large detached fresco from the Ovetari Chapel. Having partially survived severe bombing during the Second World War, it is now exhibited for the first time after long and complex restoration works. Also the lunette with St. Anthony and St. Bernardine of Siena from the Museo Antoniano in Padua are displayed here.
This is not only a monographic exhibition; it also includes masterpieces by leading Renaissance artists in northern Italy, who were in contact with Mantegna, such as Donatello, Antonello da Messina, Pisanello, Paolo Uccello, Giovanni Bellini, Cosmè Tura, Ercole de 'Roberti, Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi known as l'Antico, and last but not least, Correggio. Alongside paintings, drawings and prints by Mantegna, and some key works by his contemporaries will also be on display, as well as ancient and modern sculptures, architectural details, bronze statuettes, medals, handwritten letters, and precious ancient, printed and illuminated, books.
In order to present this complex subject in a clear and linear way, an authoritative international scientific committee has selected over a hundred works, brought together thanks to international loans from some of the world's largest and most acclaimed collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Musée du Louvre and the Musée Jacquemart André in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, the Staatliche Museum in Berlin, as well as loans from numerous Italian collections, including the Uffizi Galleries, the Pinacoteca Civica of Castello Sforzesco, the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan, the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo and the Accademia Tadini in Lovere, the Museo Antoniano and the Musei Civici in Padua, the Cini Foundation and the Gallerie dell’Accademia of Venice, the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, the Musei Civici of Pavia, the Galleria Sabauda and the Museo di Antichità in Turin, the Musei Civici, the Archiepiscopal Seminary and the Basilica of Sant'Andrea in Mantua.
Curators Sandrina Bandera and Howard Burns, with Vincenzo Farinella as consultant curator for antique art, together with Laura Aldovini, Lina Bolzoni, Molly Bourne, Caroline Campbell, Marco Collareta, Andrea Di Lorenzo, Caroline Elam, David Ekserdjian, Marzia Faietti, Claudia Kryza - Gersch, Mauro Mussolin, Alessandro Nova, Neville Rowley and Filippo Trevisani are all members of the exhibition scientific committee.
The exhibition is promoted by the Fondazione Torino Musei and Intesa Sanpaolo and is organised by Civita Mostre e Musei.
The catalogue, published by Marsilio Editori, features several introductory and in-depth essays, with detailed information about all the works on display.