The exhibition on the Genoese Baroque at the Scuderie in Rome

The unexpected splendor of the multifaceted, multicultural and eccentric Genoese baroque is at the heart of the exhibition set up at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. One and a half centuries of history

A pop title, perhaps unsuitable, for an exhibition that has nothing of pop. The Genoese baroque manifests itself in the stables with a philological atmosphere, pictorial abundance and gives profit to one of the most fertile European schools, only equal to the Roman one. If the papal baroque is shaped by the shape of the city in a mutual enrichment, the Genoese ‘Superba’ ‘reflects soul: private, mysterious and surprising.
The series of masterpieces is remarkable, thanks to famous loans, and documents the pompousness of a century and a half, from the presence in Genoa of Pieter Paul Rubensbetween 1605 and 1607, after the death of Alessandro Magnasco in 1749. A language emerges that is anything but regional, the impact of a lucky crossroads of cultures based in the oligarchic and multicultural republic, affluent for its production, commercial and financial wealth and aware of the role of art as an economic and identity resource.

Pieter Paul Rubens, Giovan Carlo Doria, 1606, oil on canvas, 265 x 188 cm.  Genoa, National Gallery of Liguria at Palazzo Spinola © Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture - National Gallery of Liguria at Palazzo Spinola
Pieter Paul Rubens, Giovan Carlo Doria, 1606, oil on canvas, 265 x 188 cm. Genoa, National Gallery of Liguria at Palazzo Spinola © Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture – National Gallery of Liguria at Palazzo Spinola

GENUA AND THE BAROQUE

Establish your relationship with Spain, strongly in a cultured and powerful aristocracy, Genoa expresses an art that is not court or official, but widespread, eclectic and reciprocal. Foreigners import you like the Italian and French schools and immerse yourself in an environment influenced by the Tuscans and stimulated by the Drawing Academy founded by Giovan Carlo Doria, to whom Pieter Paul Rubens dedicated a strong and windy equestrian portrait in 1606. which opens the review.
The fuse that lights up in the Genoese baroque is due to two presentations that leave their mark: Rubenswho in 1622 dedicated a guide to the grandiose palaces, and his follower Antoon van Dyck, who since 1923 has established himself as an unsurpassed portrait artist of the aristocracy. Encouraged by greedy commissions, other Flemings, specialists in genre painting and still life arrive. The taste for ‘living things’, already limited to easel canvases, finds a place in the sumptuous compositions of Bernardo Strozzi, which arranges silver, ceramics, flowers, fruit and game around the figures and inaugurates highly valued themes. A rare core of parade silver, including embossed and chiseled vases, basins and sideboards, accompanies the paintings and echoes the words of Giovan Battista Agucchi, who in 1601 wrote: “Few other places in Italy can you find gold, silver and rich furniture seen here“.

Simon Vouet, Saint Sebastian curated by Saint Irene and a maid, approx.  1622, oil on canvas, 246 x 174 cm.  Private collection
Simon Vouet, Saint Sebastian curated by Saint Irene and a maid, approx. 1622, oil on canvas, 246 x 174 cm. Private collection

THE EXHIBITION AT QUIRINALE SCUDERIE

The exhibition ranks 120 pieces, including canvases and wooden leaves, sketches, drawings, graphics and sculptures, and informs the visitor by thematic blocks, mostly chronologically. We immerse ourselves in progressive enjoyment in a monumental imaginative variation that displaces and enchants. The sedimentation of different languages ​​is striking, driven by the genius of Rubens and Van Dyck and then diversified into experiments by local artists, free from academic conventionalism. Collectors such as Lombard painting – Giulio Cesare Procaccini in’Magdalenes ecstasy combines the realistic instance with the soft Venetian colorism and new compositional fluid – but also the Neapolitan caravaggi of Francesco Solimena or the sweetened one of French Simon Vouet. The Caravagean schools are numerous here, while the Emilian classicism arrives in 1616 with Saint Ursula’s martyrdom from Guido Reniwith an intense and chromatic naturalism.
On the ground floor, the power of the Baroque is fully revealed. One is struck by the portraits of Van Dyck, soothing the vanity of the nobles with grandiose and intimate images, where pride of rank and inner secrets seeps out, thanks to a glimpse of disarming truth, like the abundance of velvet, silk and leggings. almost does not hide.

Bernardo Strozzi, Chef, ca.  1625, oil on canvas, 176 x 186 cm.  Genoa, Museums in Strada Nuova Palazzo Rosso © Museums in Strada Nuova Palazzo Rosso
Bernardo Strozzi, Chef, ca. 1625, oil on canvas, 176 x 186 cm. Genoa, Museums in Strada Nuova Palazzo Rosso © Museums in Strada Nuova Palazzo Rosso

SUPERBAROT ARTISTS

Thematic freedom is the main character everywhere: in the dining room with games of Antonio Maria Vassallo or in bacchanalia of Giovan Battista Castiglione, which goes from myth to biblical scenes with the same Dionysian propulsion. The mature baroque, even more varied, uninhibited and visionary, looks active Valerio Castellowhich melts shapes and colors looking for volatility, Domenico Piola, Andrea Ansaldo, Domenico Fiasella, Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari, Giovan Battista Carlone And Orazio De Ferrari. On the ground floor, the exhibition is expanded with drawings, frescoes and squares. A beautiful core of sculptures testifies to how the plastic school, already close to classic models, thanks to Ercole Ferrata, the contacts with Bernini and Algardi and the arrival in the city Pierre Pugetcompete with the painting for originality and stylistic dexterity.
It surprisingly concludes the review Alessandro Magnasco, which in the mid-18th century shuns the current academic and indulges in obscure, feverish and evening compositions. A crepuscular and mysterious epilogue of a glorious expressive season.

Francesca Bottari

Art events underway in Rome

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