My light is all in you. History and Melodrama Painting

Carrara Academy – Bergamo

29 SEPTEMBER 2023 – 14 JANUARY 2023

From 29 September 2023 Accademia Carrara presents “My light is all in you. Painting of History and Melodrama”, the latest major exhibition in Bergamo Brescia, Italian Capital of Culture 2023.

Starting from the end of the eighteenth century and with great momentum in the romantic nineteenth century, the events and protagonists of modern history took hold of the Western collective imagination. The ancient myths and exemplary deeds of the Greeks and Romans are replaced by a mythology and an epic closer to modern sensibility. A larger and more participatory audience, made up of readers of novels, frequenters of theaters and art exhibitions, is passionate about the vicissitudes and conflicts experienced by real-life characters into whom the torments of the romantic soul of contemporary man can be projected.

The historical novel, historical painting and melodrama – profoundly reformed compared to the past and which finds its acclaimed champions in the great Italian composers such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi – fuel the passion for history and decree the popularity of new ready-made heroes to supplant those of mythology and antiquity. Historians, writers, painters, set designers and theatrical costume designers try to recall the past with the utmost fidelity in the reconstruction of environments, in the description of physiognomies, attitudes and clothes.

Francesco Hayez, “The last kiss given to Juliet by Romeo” (detail), 1823.
Tremezzina (CO), Villa Carlotta

From 29 September 2023 to 14 January 2024 the exhibition Tutta in voi la luce mia. Painting of History and Melodrama intends to represent this singular climate through the privileged testimony of the great historical paintings, masterpieces by Francesco Hayez, Michelangelo Grigoletti, Francesco Coghetti, Domenico Induno, which document the transversal fortune of certain themes and characters evoked both in the canvases and on the scenes .

The exhibition itinerary will have its main nuclei in the reconstruction of the relationship between Hayez and Verdi based on the sharing of very popular themes such as The Two Foscari, The Lombards at the First Crusade and The Sicilian Vespers and so also in the series of paintings dedicated to tragic characters, such as Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, Caterina Cornaro, Marin Faliero, have become familiar due to their musical reworking by Donizetti from Bergamo and the frequency with which they appear, throughout Europe, precisely in painting.

The selected paintings will document the interferences between the two languages, the figurative and the scenic, which were already felt by contemporaries. A series of portraits of painters, musicians, set designers and singers will instead restore the likenesses of those who were the protagonists of this extraordinary world.

Francesco Hayez, “The two Foscari”, 1838-1840.
Milan, Cariplo Foundation