Renaissance in the workshop Perugino among the greats of history

Perugia, Civic Museum of Palazzo della Penna
29 OCTOBER 2023 – 28 JANUARY 2024

From 29 October 2023 to 28 January 2024 the city of Perugia will host the exhibition “Renaissance in the workshop” at the Civic Museum of Palazzo della Penna. Perugino among the greats of history” organized by the Municipality of Perugia, in partnership with the University of Perugia and the Nobile Collegio del Cambio and with the contribution of the “Committee promoting the celebrations for the fifth centenary of the death of the painter Pietro Vannucci known as Perugino”.

Strongly supported by the Mayor, Andrea Romizi, and the Councilor for Culture, Leonardo Varasano, the exhibition opens to the public thanks to the commitment of the Culture Operational Unit, led by the Director, Maria Luisa Martella who coordinated the scientific and organizational.

The curatorship of the exhibition was entrusted to Cristina Galassi, professor of history of art criticism at the University of Perugia as well as director of the School of specialization in historical and artistic heritage, and to Francesco Federico Mancini, professor of history of modern art at the University of Perugia, who has dealt with the artist on several occasions, in particular on the occasion of the first major Perugino monograph. The divine painter, which was dedicated to the master from Pieve (National Gallery of Umbria, 2004).

The exhibition itinerary winds through the exhibition rooms of the Civic Museum of Palazzo della Penna which host around forty works from some of the most prestigious national museums: Uffizi Galleries, Royal Palace of Caserta, National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, Accademia di Belle Brera Arts, Bargello Museums, Bologna Museum of Modern Art – MAMbo and Parma National Gallery – Pilotta Monumental Complex.

There are also numerous collaborations with institutional subjects who enthusiastically joined the project by opening the doors of their collections: Municipalities of Asciano, Carpi, Città della Pieve, Genoa, Naples, Padua, Parma, San Severino Marche, Sansepolcro and the Brescia Musei Foundation.

Finally, important loans come from prestigious private collections including the Palazzo Foresti collection, the Pietro Aldi Cultural Center and Antichità Castelbarco.

At a local level, we highlight the collaboration with the Perugia Foundation which granted three works from its collections; Also valuable is the agreement with the “Pietro Vannucci” Academy of Fine Arts which participated in the project with the loan of six paintings, one of which was also chosen as the guiding image of the exhibition.

The financial contribution of the Committee promoting the celebrations, combined with that of the Municipality of Perugia, made it possible to carry out conservative interventions on 18 works of art, thus giving the exhibition an important role also from the point of view of safeguarding and valorising the national heritage .

The project was also supported by a qualified scientific committee made up – as well as the curators of the exhibition – by Caterina Bon Valsassina, Sonia Maffei, Maria Luisa Martella and Alessandra Lavorati.

The exhibition at Palazzo della Penna, as the final event of the year dedicated to the celebrations for the fifth centenary of the death of Pietro Vannucci, chooses to offer visitors an unprecedented reading of the Perugian story, focusing the reflection on the theme of the “artist’s workshop “, which began to emerge in the medieval era, in particular with the affirmation of Giotto’s art, and then consolidated, in its most typical characteristics, during the Renaissance period also thanks to Perugino, whose entrepreneurial skills are known less than artistic skills.

The exhibition itinerary therefore retraces the way in which nineteenth-century painters, in the midst of the Romantic period, revisited the work of the great Renaissance masters, reconstructing – starting from the study of documentary sources and artistic literature – a history in images which highlights not only the technical skills that were transmitted within the workshops, where art and craft coexisted, but also their human weaknesses, their aspiration to become excellent, their sentimental affairs, their relationship with reality, their fragilities.

At the center of this reflection stands the shining figure of Perugino, a painter with a difficult but accommodating character when necessary, a master with a “porphyry brain” but with a proverbial attachment to money, who knew how to create artistic workshops as large and organized as he was great. was his fame and his clientele was vast.

Accompanying the exhibition is a rich color catalogue, published by Aguaplano, whose central contribution is constituted by the substantial essay by the curator Francesco Federico Mancini, which presents itself as a broad and accurate reflection on the pieces on display, appropriately contextualised. The co-curator Cristina Galassi is the author of an essay entitled Fabulous and Legendary Lives. Topoi and anecdotes of the Umbrian painters of the Renaissance.

The titles of the other contributions are Historical Romanticism: presences, absences, hierarchies in the biographies of the “ancient masters” by Caterina Bon Valsassina, “Speaking images of people known among us”. The representation of the “ancient masters” between historiography and identity memory in Umbria in the 19th century by Alessandra Lavorati, The anecdote of Helen of Zeuxis between theorists and painters by Sonia Maffei.

The exhibition is sponsored by the telecommunications operator Connesi and the Cloud Computing services company Seeweb who joined the project with enthusiasm and sensitivity, providing valuable support for its realization.