Enfilade

Exhibition | A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 4, 2020

The exhibition was scheduled to be on view at the NGA this past summer; it will now arrive in Washington after appearing in Rome. From the NGA:

A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750 / La Superba e il Barocco
Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 25 March — 1 August 2021
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 26 September 2021 — 9 January 2022

Curated by Jonathan Bober, Piero Boccardo, and Franco Boggero

By the 17th century, Genoa was the banking center of Europe with a functioning republican government and enormous wealth that enabled its artists and their patrons to create a singularly rich and beautiful expression of baroque style, with works of extraordinary material sumptuousness, visual splendor, and exuberant feeling. The first major presentation of the Genoese baroque in the United States, this landmark exhibition—accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog—presents some 130 paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, drawings, and prints ranging from 1600 through 1750.

Forming the core of the exhibition are works by the school’s well-known painters—Bernardo Strozzi, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, and Alessandro Magnasco—as well as key works by other Italians and foreigners drawn to the city’s flourishing environment—Peter Paul Rubens, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Orazio Gentileschi, Anthony van Dyck, and Francesco Solimena. Some of the very finest works by such native painters as Valerio Castello, Domenico Piola, and Gregorio De Ferrari are also on view. Monumental decorative ensembles from churches and residences are represented by corresponding oil sketches and presentation models, several grand in scale themselves. Also included are full-size statues by masters—Pierre Puget, Filippo Parodi, and Anton Maria Maragliano—terracotta sketches, and exquisite bronze repetitions of monumental groups, as well as spectacular ceremonial silver from early in the period.

Among the drawings and prints featured are many by the same artists who executed the paintings and objects, with some connected to them. These works reveal the striking characteristics of Genoese draftsmanship: complex techniques, pictorial elaboration, and autonomous function. In fantasy and fluency, the etchings—particularly those of Castiglione and Bartolomeo Biscaino—surpass those of any other Italian school.

The exhibition is curated by Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art; Piero Boccardo, Superintendent of the City Collections of Genoa; and Franco Boggero, director, historic and artistic heritage section, Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio, Genoa.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, with special cooperation from the City and Museums of Genoa. The exhibition is made possible by the Robert Lehman Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

The catalogue is now available from Princeton UP:

Jonathan Bober, Piero Boccardo, Franco Boggero, Peter Lukehart, and Andrea Zanini, A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750 (Princeton: Princeton University Press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2020), 384 pages, ISBN: 978-0691206516, $65 / £54.

Genoa completed its transformation from a faded maritime power into a thriving banking center for Europe in the seventeenth century. The wealth accumulated by its leading families spurred investment in the visual arts on an enormous scale. This volume explores how artists both foreign and native created a singularly rich and extravagant expression of the baroque in works of extraordinary variety, sumptuousness, and exuberance. This art, however, has remained largely hidden behind the facades of the city’s palaces, with few works, apart from those by the school’s great expatriates, found beyond its borders. As a result, the Genoese baroque has been insufficiently considered or appreciated.

Lavishly illustrated, A Superb Baroque is comprehensive, encompassing all the major media and participants. Presented are some 140 select works by the celebrated foreigners drawn to the city and its flourishing environment—from Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Giulio Cesare Procaccini to Pierre Puget, Marcantonio Franceschini, and Francesco Solimena; by the major Genoese masters active for much of their careers in other settings—Bernardo Strozzi, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Filippo Parodi, and Alessandro Magnasco; and above all by the brilliantly synthetic but unfamiliar masters who worked primarily in Genoa itself—Gioacchino Assereto, Valerio Castello, Domenico Piola, and Gregorio De Ferrari. Offering three levels of exploration—essays that frame and interpret, section introductions that characterize principal currents and stages, and texts that elucidate individual works—this volume is by far the most extensive study of the Genoese baroque in the English language.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s