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THE BOLOGNESE GREATS - ARTE FIERA 2012

Events | Exhibitions | Art

When, shut away in our Milan offices, our thoughts travel to Bologna, the great works of its school of painting come to mind. We envision its medieval churches - ancient and dark - but also full of precious frescoes and rare sculptures, even those of Michelangelo shall we not forget. The great pictorial periods, the great altarpieces, that extraordinary season inaugurated by the three Caracci at the close of the sixteenth century and that lasts up to Guercino and the “divine” Guido Reni come to mind.

The imagination conjures up workshops for stucco decoration, for dumbfounding sceneries, for inventors of daring and bizarre architectural creations from the Bibbiena family onward, which gave birth – hidden under the arches – to some of Italy’s most beautiful androns and palace staircases. Its charming "country rooms", those idyllic sylvans from the end of the eighteenth century, give the spectator the illusory impression of a vista en plein air.

Nestled at the feet of the plains and surrounded by its famous hills - for centuries bound to Rome and a rich pontifical territory, much more than a province and the seat of Europe's oldest university – Bologna “churned out” some of the world‘s most famous artists over the centuries, during their age and still today. Precisely the names Caracci and "le Guide" (Reni) are among the first that a cultured foreigner, an art lover, would think of on the eve of a visit in the land the Etruscans had dubbed “Felzna” (fertile land).

This long artistic tradition showed no halt even in the last century. Indeed, Bologna was the birthplace of the great Morandi, still today among the indisputable stars (despite himself) of the international art market, at sums that compete with the great transalpine masters.

Bologna is also, (especially for us since our business is art), the major date of Artefiera, among the most prestigious modern and contemporary art market fairs on the Old Continent and a gauge for the national market and new artistic trends, not to mention being an irreplaceable ground for exchange among critics, gallery directors and new collectors.

Bologna, we must admit, is a city to which Christie’s – for cultural and professional reasons – has been closely, and affectionately, tied for a very long time.

 

Article by Clarice Pecori Giraldi, General Manager of Christie's Italy

From an artistic viewpoint, the seventeenth century may be considered Bologna’s golden age, due to the marked presence of Guido Reni, Guercino, and even earlier, of the Carracci, to whom the birth of one of the first fine arts academies in Italy is owed, the Accademia degli Incamminati, an artistic and ideological fellowship among painters in order to broaden the concept of art beyond the confines of the profession that is acquired in the workshop.

In 1710, under the protection of Pope Clement XI, the Accademia Clementina was born against the noble backdrop of Poggi Palace, following the scheme of the great European academies in Paris and Rome. There, courses on painting, sculpture and architecture were developed with teachers of the caliber of Carlo Cignani, Marcantonio Franceschini i Bibiena, and reaching, at century end, those of Vincenzo Martinelli, Gaetano Gandolfi, Angelo Venturoli…

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, during the Napoleonic occupation, the Accademia Nazionale was founded in the Saint Ignatius boarding-school with a new teaching approach, more scientific and closer to the current methods used. Among others, anatomy, ornamentation and carving were added to the already existing subjects. A process of modernization began that would bring the Academy, even as it crossed inevitable crises, up to our day, training artists of great worth, among which Giorgio Morandi himself, the most illustrious representative in the world of the Bolognese XX century.

 

Article by Fabia Farneti, Teacher at the Fine Arts Academy

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