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BRUEGHEL: MASTERPIECES OF FLEMISH ART
Art | Museums | Bologna City
2 October 2015 to 28 February 2016 - Palazzo Albergati – Art Experience, Bologna
Following on from the great success of its exhibition dedicated to the Dutch genius Escher, which took place in Bologna’s Palazzo Albergati, the Arthemisia Group is to go ahead with a new project – this time relating to Flemish art. The new Brueghel exhibition will recount the story of a whole dynasty of exceptional artistic talent. It is a family history, told in pictures, and stretching over 150 years.
Brueghel is a name that, in centuries past, was a byword for excellence in the pictorial arts. The Brueghels comprise the most important group of Flemish artists active during the 16th and 17th centuries; they are the great interpreters of their age.
Numerous members of the Brueghel clan have amazed the world with their creations, and much of what has survived is now to be shown at the Palazzo Albergati – works byPieter Brueghel the Elder, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Ambrosius Brueghel and Abraham Brueghel. The exhibition will examine the realist revolution that the Brueghel family brought about in European painting, and show how the vision of these innovators influenced the great themes in western art.
The exhibition is staged and organised by the Arthemisia Group, with the sponsorship of the Comune di Bologna. It will take place in the halls of Palazzo Albergati from 2 October 2015 to 28 Feb 2016. It is curated by Sergio Gaddi and by Andrea Wandschneider, director of the Paderborn Städtische Galerie in der Reithalle.
The exhibition aims to take visitors on an exciting journey through the golden age of Flemish painting. It will show the visionary genius of five generations of artists who defined – like no-one before or since – the style and direction of western art. While Renaissance Italy focused on noble and virtuous ideals epitomised by the human figure, as explored by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian, in Flanders the art took a radically different trajectory. Pieter Brueghel the Elder, the patriarch of the family, was well acquainted with Italian painting and held it in high esteem. But in his own work he looked to everyday human life in all its rawness and squalor. He dwelt on the shadows, on the vices of peasants or merchants, on the hard facts of life, but also on its simple joys – as in his Wedding Dance (1610). Pieter Brueghel the Younger, meanwhile, turned a pitiless eye on life as it was actually lived – on human weakness and the daily miseries of existence, and also on charity. His Seven Acts of Mercy (1616–1618) demonstrates this approach.
In the painting of the Italian Renaissance, Nature serves mainly as a backdrop against which the magnificent, changeable, admirable superiority of man is played out. In Flemish painting – in the Brueghelian manner – Nature assumes the role of a protagonist in human history, and is therefore represented with a visual richness and a meticulous attention to detail and to composition as had never before been seen. See, for example, Still Life of Fruit in a Landscape (1670) by Abraham Brueghel or Allegory of the Four Elements (1630–1635) by Jan Brueghel the Younger and Hendrick van Balen.
Nature is here strong and vigorous, it dominates humankind, which is often submissive and obedient when confronted with Nature’s power. Pieter Brueghel the Elder, together with his gifted progeny, can be said to have invented a code that eventually became a brand – a brand that endured for two centuries. The exhibition features other important artists – Frans de Momper, Frans Francken, Hendrick van Balen and Joos de Momper – who contributed to these rich and fascinating pages in the history of art. Many of them, together with the Brueghels, were true masters of detail, specialists in the painting of animals, flowers and objects.
The paintings are exhibited in thematic groups entitled Moral Guidance, Salvation and Condemnation; Nature as Queen; Soldiers and Hunters in Winter Light; Stories of Travellers and Merchants; Allegories and Tales of Wonder; The Splendour and Vanity of the Silent Life. Through these sections, the exhibition expounds the exciting story of life. It is a story that will evoke awe and wonder – because it describes the world with unflinching attention, as if seen through the gaze of a mirror.
Where and when
Palazzo Albergati, Via Saragozza 28, Bologna
From Monday to Sunday 10am–8pm (last tickets one hour before closing)
Information and reservation
T. +39 051 0301015
T. +39 06 91511055
Arthemisia Group Press Office
Adele della Sala | firstname.lastname@example.org | M +39 345 7503572
Anastasia Marsella | email@example.com | M +39 370 3145551
Salvatore Macaluso | firstname.lastname@example.org | T +39 06 69380306
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