Exhibition Location: European Paintings, Gallery 624, second floor
The Accademia Carrara in Bergamo (northeast of Milan) is one of the jewels of Italian museums and a haven for art lovers. Founded at the end of the 18th century by Count Giacomo Carrara and housed in a beautiful Neoclassical building, it contains a range of masterpieces dating from the 14th to the 19th century, with an outstanding collection of Renaissance Venetian, Lombard, and Florentine painting. Because it is currently closed for restoration, the Accademia Carrara has loaned to the Metropolitan Museum 15 masterpieces by Venetian and north Italian painters of the 15th and 16th centuries, including works by Bellini, Titian, and Lorenzo Lotto.
The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo.
Unlike many of Italy’s best-loved museums, the Accademia Carrara was not founded by the state; rather, its collection was formed in large part by three exceptional collectors: its founder, Giacomo Carrara (1714–1796); Guglielmo Lochis (1789–1859); and the connoisseur Giovanni Morelli (1826–1891). Their civic-minded visions influenced collecting far beyond Bergamo’s borders. The Accademia Carrara’s collections reflect their tastes, interests, and connoisseurship, and these collections, in turn, had an enormous influence on collecting in London and elsewhere in the later 19th century. The exhibition focuses on the areas and specific works that make the collection so distinctive.
The paintings on view are by artists working in northern Italy between about 1450 and 1550. It was a golden age for Bergamo: local painters trained in the great workshops in Venice, and in 1513 the Venetian master Lorenzo Lotto arrived and would stay for more than a decade. (The Metropolitan Museum’s Venus and Cupid by Lotto was probably painted in Bergamo). Patrons appreciated both the color and the brilliant style of the Venetians as well as the more devotional, naturalistic manner native to the region of Lombardy.
Included in the exhibition are the three predella panels from Lorenzo Lotto’s magisterial altarpiece of 1513-1516, which was painted for Santo Stefano in Bergamo; Giovanni Bellini’s hauntingly beautiful Pietà with the Virgin and Saint John (1455-60); Orpheus and Eurydice (ca. 1508-12), an early poetic, pastoral work by Titian; and one of Lorenzo Lotto’s finest portraits, Portrait of Lucina Brembati (1518-23). Installed within the context of the Metropolitan Museum’s own holdings of these same artists, the works have an added resonance.
Bellini, Titian, and Lotto: North Italian Paintings from the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo is organized by Andrea Bayer, Curator in the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of European Paintings.
The exhibition is accompanied by a brief catalogue with essays written by Andrea Bayer and Maria Cristina Rodeschini, Director, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. The publication provides an introduction to the Accademia Carrara, its donors, its history, and the group of paintings chosen for the exhibition. It is published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, and is available in the Museum’s book shops ($19.95).
Gallery talks will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition. The exhibition and its related programs are featured on the Museum’s website at www.metmuseum.org.
May 14, 2012