Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SPLENDORS OF THE RENAISSANCE IN VENICE - Andrea Schiavone between Parmigianino, Tintoretto and Titian

Schiavone - Holy Family with St. Catherine
Andrea Schiavone Holy Family with St. Catherine & St. John (1552 c.)
(Venice, Italy) There has never been an exhibition dedicated to Andrea Schiavone before, and after 500 years, the artist is finally getting his due here in Venice at the Museo Correr. In addition to 80 works by the Dalmatian artist, some of his more famous contemporaries -- like Titian and Tintoretto -- are also on loan from museums worldwide, including the Louvre, Queen Elizabeth's Royal Collection, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Born in Zara about 1510, Andrea Meldolla was called "Schiavone," which means "Slav," a term the Venetian Republic used to call their Dalmatian subjects. One of the four historical regions of Croatia, Dalmatia is a narrow coastline region which was under Venetian control for centuries. Dalmatia's strategic location was important to the Queen of the Adriatic.

Not many ordinary people know who Andrea Schiovane was, but he is a big deal in the world of art history. Inspired by the alchemist artist, Parmigianino, and criticized by the father of art history, Giorgio Vasari, Schiavone was an associate of Titian's good buddy, Pietro Aretino, who Wikipedia describes as "an Italian author, playwright, poet, satirist and blackmailer who wielded immense influence on contemporary art and politics and invented modern literate pornography." Schiavone was new and unconventional, and divided the opinion of both the critics and the public.

Titian The Aldobrandini Madonna
Titian The Aldobrandini Madonna (1532 c.)
Schiovane's background is full of mystery. There are only two dates in the life of Andrea Meldolla that can be confirmed: that he died in Venice in 1563, and that he painted the Abduction of Helen in 1547, the only work that he signed and dated. But he associated with the most important artists in Venice at the time, and his work was in the homes of the aristocracy, so he was appreciated in high circles. "Furious with his brush and quick as an arrow," Schiavone was an experimental artist, combining different mediums like drypoint and etching, to create his works. Francis L. Richardson, in the Oxford Studies in the History of Art and Architecture, wrote, "Schiavone's role in the development of Titian's ultima maniera perhaps constitutes his greatest contribution to the history of Art." .

Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo, Luigi Brugnaro, Gabriella Belli, Lionello Puppi
Luigi Brugnaro, Venice's controversial new mayor, chose the press conference for Schiavone to announce a major revival of the Civic Museums, saying that few people were aware of the extraordinary quality of art work that was inside the 11 individual museums that are safeguarded by Venice. Brugnaro, who is a wealthy businessman, said that art, if marketed properly, can become an economic resource for the city. The art campaign is to include a massive advertising blitz, educational programs, because "art education has to start with the young," and a radical change to the opening hours for the public, including evenings and nights.

Now, I happen to agree with Brugnaro on many of those points, and have been saying the same thing for years -- the museums of Venice have incredible treasures that most people do not know about, and are absolutely in need of a marketing campaign. If another city had just one of Venice's masterpieces, say a Titian, travelers would make a trip just to see it. Venice is bursting with works by Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese, to name a few -- and I'd wager that 99% of Americans have no idea who Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese are.

Judith II (Salome) by Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt Judith II (Salome) (1909)
If you are a regular reader of Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog, you know that I have strongly criticized Brugnaro after being personally attacked by him on Twitter, and after he has done things like threaten to sell Gustav Klimt's Judith II (Salome) because it could raise €70 million, and it has "no relation to the artists and cultural history of Venice." Now, that is a flippant thing to say because the reason why the Klimt is here in the first place is because the Venice Biennale made a wise investment and bought it back in 1910, when it was on show during the Venice Biennale, the first Biennale in all the world. But I do agree that we should let people know it is here because just that one Klimt would be enough to draw people into Ca' Pesaro, Venice's International Gallery of Modern Art. When I took that photo of Judith II, there was only one other person in the room. (I do think that many Americans know who Klimt is -- at least they know the images, if not the name.) 

Luigi Brugnaro, Mayor of Venice and Cat Bauer
Luigi Brugnaro and Cat Bauer (iPad)
As I walked around the Schiavone exhibition, I decided that things could not get much worse between me and Luigi Brugnaro, and it was better to make peace. He readily agreed -- he was actually quite charming. We asked someone to snap a few photos with my iPad. The mayor said they were too dark and took a couple of selfies with his cellphone. I am sure he thinks he can change my mind about certain things, and I am just as sure I can change his. So, who knows what will happen in the future, but at least it is start.

Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro and Cat Bauer
Luigi Brugnaro and Cat Bauer (selfie)
To me, the biggest problem is that Brugnaro does not live here, and does not truly understand the passion the people inside the historic center of Venice feel for their city. The biggest controversy is over the cruise ships. If Brugnaro could understand that the Venetians are trying to protect the lagoon, which has protected Venice for centuries -- that the lagoon is Venice as much as the churches and palazzi, the calli and the campi are -- that would be a step in the right direction. People say the problem with Brugnaro is that he does not listen, and surrounds himself with sycophants who tell him what he wants to hear, rather than listen to people qualified to give opinions. (On Twitter, he also called me, and others, "intellectual hacks.") Venice is like no other city in the world, and the few remaining people who actually live here do so because they truly, deeply love her, and that must be respected.

Schiavone Meeting Between a Man and a Woman
Andrea Schiavone Meeting Between a Man and a Woman (1550 c.)
Brugnaro seemed to enjoy the Schiavone exhibition, and said that the Venice City Council would continue to support similar exhibitions of high caliber, which required detailed research. Splendors of the Renaissance in Venice - Andrea Schiavone between Parmigianino, Tintoretto and Titian runs through April 10, 2016.

SPLENDORS OF THE RENAISSANCE IN VENICE
ANDREA SCHIAVONE BETWEEN PARMIGIANINO, TINTORETTO AND TITIAN
Museo Correr
November 28, 2015 - April 10, 2016
CLICK for more information

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

2 comments:

  1. There has never been an exhibition dedicated to Andrea Schiavone before, and after 500 years, the artist is finally getting his due here in Venice at the Museo Correr. In addition to 80 works by the Dalmatian artist, some of his more famous contemporaries -- like Titian and Tintoretto -- are also on loan from museums worldwide, including the Louvre, Queen Elizabeth's Royal Collection, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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    1. I am managing the History Carnival for January 2016 and need nominations, for your own blog post or someone else’s, by 31/1/2016. The theme I have chosen for this month is History of the Visual, Performing, Musical and Literary Arts. But I want to reiterate that nominations for any good history posts will be welcomed. Your topics will fit right in.

      Examine previous History Carnivals at http://historycarnival.org/index.html

      The January 2016 nomination form is at http://historycarnival.org/form.html


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