5 March - 16 June 2013
curated by Giovanni C. F. Villa
The Concert and La Bella from Palazzo Pitti, Flora from the Uffizi, the Gozzi Altarpiece from Ancona, Danaë and the Shower of Gold from Capodimonte, Charles V with a Dog and the Self-portrait from the Prado, or the Flaying of Marsyas from Kromeriz are some of the most celebrated works of the great Venetian painter Titian (Pieve di Cadore, circa 1485 - Venice, 1576). These and many more are to go on display at the Quirinale in an exhibition designed to stand as the ideal conclusion to the sweeping overview of Venetian painting and the debate on the crucial role that it played in the renewal of culture in Italy and in Europe, promoted by the Scuderie del Quirinale in an analysis of the work of the leading players in the modern revolution in painting, from Antonello da Messina to Giovanni Bellini, Lorenzo Lotto and Tintoretto, of which Titian is the last and loftiest witness in his role as the European artist par excellence.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to retrace the salient moments of this great Italian painter's uncontainable rise, from his early days in the workshops of Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione in Venice to the independence that he won with his large canvases for the Doges and for the D'Este and Della Rovere families, and ultimately with his imperial commissions from Charles V and his son Philip II. Titian's entire artistic career will be represented at the highest level, decade by decade, underscoring his masterly sense of colour and the development of his brushwork, which proved capable of surpassing the boundaries of painterly imagination. Through iconographic comparisons - particularly emblematic, among the many that the exhibition will be hosting, is a comparison between the Crucifixion from the Dominican church in Ancona, the Crucifixion for the Escorial in Madrid, and the fragmentary Crucifixion now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna - visitors will be able to gain a direct perception of the master's innovative approach and compositional structure, in an exhibition designed to convey not only his crucial role as a religious painter but also his complex career as portrait-painter extraordinary to the nobility and aristocracy of his day. Thanks to the support of, and loans from, many leading museums both in Italy and overseas, the exhibition sets out to permit a broader audience to grasp the exceptional nature of an artist who was capable of merging "the greatness and the power of Michel Agnolo, the sweetness and the beauty of Raphael and the very colours of Nature herself", as Ludovico Dolce, a contemporary writer and fervent admirer of the master, so aptly put it.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the results of an extensive campaign of scientific analysis which has encompassed a large part of the artist's output. Conducted by the Centro di Ateneo di Arti Visive at the Università degli Studi di Bergamo, the campaign has achieved results of the utmost importance in defining the relationship between autograph works and workshop products, and in fully documenting Titian's technical development from the earliest days of his apprenticeship.
The catalogue, published by Silvana Editoriale, contains entries and essays by some of the world's most illustrious students of the great Venetian master.