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The exhibition consists of about two hundred works – half of which featured in the US exhibit - including paintings, sculptures, tapestries, miniatures, silvers and drawings. This wide selection of high-level works of art by the Ligurian artist makes it possible to follow his artistic career from his youthful experience to his work for the Spanish court.
Luca Cambiaso – A Master of the European Sixteenth Century
3 March – 8 July 07
Palazzo Ducale - Musei di Strada Nuova (Museums of Strada Nuova)
More than forty years have passed since the last Genoese exhibition dedicated to Luca Cambiaso (Moneglia 1527-El Escorial 1585). On the centenary of the artist’s death, in 1985, no adequate initiatives were organised to pay homage to the painter. Recent studies over the last years on the city’s historical and artistic evolution have shown how the century starting from the 1540s was marked by an extraordinary economic and political development involving the city, which had become an integral part of a network linking together the great centres of European power.
Cambiaso was active in that period of exceptional prominence for Genoa, at a time when the city’s aristocracy confirmed its leading international role. This resulted in an exceptional building boom with the spread of an original style of palaces and villas, and the parallel need to celebrate the “virtues” of the ruling class through a magnificent and appropriate decorative iconography.
In those years, major artists such as Luca Cambiaso, Galeazzo Alessi, Giovan Battista Castello called “il Bergamasco”, were all equally involved in intense and high-quality work. The essay by Lauro Magnani (Luca Cambiaso da Genova all’Escorial, 1995) has underlined the artist’s multi-faceted career; indeed, the exemplary nature of his relationship with the great masters of the sixteenth-century - Michelangelo, Correggio, Titian – and the European dimension of his work, which is emphasised in the text and has been endorsed by international critics, are the main focus of the exhibition. The exhibition will be held at two separate venues, at two subsequent times: The Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas, from 15 September 2006 to 14 January 2007, and the grand venue of Palazzo Ducale in Genoa.
The exhibition consists of about two hundred works – half of which featured in the US exhibit - including paintings, sculptures, tapestries, miniatures, silvers and drawings. This wide selection of high-level works of art by the Ligurian artist makes it possible to follow his artistic career from his youthful experience to his work for the Spanish court. The richness caught by this artist’s sensitivity to cultural changes is also evident in relation to masterpieces by great artists of the same century: Michelangelo, Giulio Romano, Perin del Vaga, Beccafumi, Correggio, Titian, Veronese and artists of International Mannerism. This careful choice aims at documenting Cambiaso’s stylistic links with other artists and his sensitivity to cultural and religious aspirations characterising his century.
The artist’s wide-ranging skills are also evidenced by his less-known work as a sculptor and tapestry designer, while his great drawing ability will be carefully illustrated through a wide and meaningful selection of drawings coming from large international collections. The leading role of the artist will be examined both from the European perspective and in relation to the city, focusing on his remarkable work as the artist who started the great Genoese decorative tradition in the numerous and “magnificent” cycles for the residences of the aristocracy and for the renewed forms of religious communication.
These elements will be emphasised in both exhibits, however, the Genoese one will obviously give the opportunity to experience them first-hand, through city itineraries featuring the unprecedented possibility of admiring the richness of Cambiaso’s painting style directly from scaffoldings. Works by artists who worked together with the master as well as others who were influenced by him from different perspectives will complete this exhibition, while opening up new and fascinating possibilities in terms of patronage options and experimentations by artists for the seventeenth-century in Italy and in Europe, based on Cambiaso’s formal research and study of light.