venerdì 30 maggio 2014

New Michelangelo exhibit showcases 'universal artist'

156 masterworks at Capitoline Museums starting Thursday

(ANSA) - Rome, May 30 - A new show on Michelangelo opening Thursday at the Capitoline Museums in Rome focuses on the complexity of his art and the epic quality attributed to his life by the formidable works and challenging technical difficulties he embraced. The exhibit, Michelangelo 1564-2014: Meeting a Universal Artist, which runs until September 14, in particular vies to investigate the genius of the artist and emotional trials of the man through opposites he portrayed - from life and death, to earthly and spiritual love. Organized on the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo's death, the show was curated by art historians Elena Capretti and Sergio Risaliti and organized by the Metamorfosi Association and Zetema. It features 156 works - including 70 by the artist - ranging from sketches and preparatory drawings, to paintings and sculptures.

Cristina Acidini, the superintendent of the State museums of Florence who first conceived this exhibit, called it a ''complex but extremely thrilling experience, a sort of impossible show'' in which the ''sparks'' of Michelangelo's genius are highlighted through a selection of works which give an insight into his creative process with the ambition of providing an in-depth take on the brilliant inspiration behind masterworks including the Last Judgement. In particular the show overcomes the objective impossibility of exhibiting ''non-transportable'' key masterpieces by Michelangelo - notably the Sistine chapel's frescoes - by displaying paintings, sculptures, poems and architectural projects alongside one another to focus on the crucial themes of his art.

The exhibit is divided into nine display sections, showcasing key works including the Brutus sculpture, on loan from the Bargello National Museum in Florence, the Madonna of the Steps, a relief sculpture by 15-year-old Michelangelo, the Risen Christ statue found in Bassano Romano, an unfinished work similar to the Christ in the nearby Church of the Minerva, and three devotional wooden crucifixes. The show opens with a group of statues in the Hall of the the Horatii and the Curiatii overlooking Piazza del Campidoglio, which Michelangelo revolutionized by placing an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius at the center instead of laterally as was customary at the time. Here, the Bargello's Brutus, a political masterwork which Michelangelo sculpted in Rome, can be admired alongside earlier classical busts, the bronze Brutus from the Capitoline Museums and Caracalla from the Vatican Museum, for a direct comparison of two works which inspired the artist.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, who was born in Arezzo in 1475, began his art apprenticeship with Domenico Ghirlandaio in Florence in 1488 but had to move to Rome in 1496 after the death of his patron Lorenzo de Medici threw the city into turmoil. The Madonna of the Steps, on loan from the Buonarroti Foundation, is an early work focusing on the search for beauty and perfection of the human body as delineated in the devotional crucifixes from the Santo Spirito church in Florence, and the Louvre and Bargello museums which have been controversially attributed to the artist. They will be on display alongside one another for the first time. Also on show are the Fall of Phaeton from the Accademia in Venice and the Study of the Head of the Cumean Sibyl from Turin's Biblioteca Reale.

An interesting take on the contrast between earthly and spiritual love, which was strongly felt by Michelangelo both in his life and art, is offered by a set of drawings and other works inspired by meaningful relationships such as those with Tommaso Cavalieri and Vittoria Colonna. Each theme is investigated by comparing sculptures, paintings, architectural models, select letters and poetry and drawings, which provide a masterful view into the considerable effort that went into the artist' innovative work The show then focuses on an aging Michelangelo's investigation into life and death, the salvation of the soul, time and eternity. The artist, who worked for six popes, became closer to the Christian faith in his old age, as testified by the many portrayals of the crucifixion and resurrection in the exhibit.

Michelangelo's work is shown alongside documents outlining his relationship with powerful patrons, with friends, and with those who shared his great political, artistic, and religious passions, for a new insight into an intensely scrutinized personal life which transformed the idea of what an artist could be.

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