The book with the 100 masterpieces of Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Corsini comes out

The Barberini Corsini National Galleries publish the first anthology of their works: the book “Palazzo Barberini Galleria Corsini. 100 masterpieces ”, at the same time a guide, a small catalog and a useful information tool.

An agile volume to get to know the main masterpieces from the Barberini Corsini National Galleries from Rome. The wonders of Barberini Palace and of Corsini Gallery they offer themselves to readers and onlookers in the book Barberini Palace Corsini Gallery. 100 masterpiecespublished by Book Workshop (232 pages, € 18.90, ISBN 978-88-3367-052-2) and edited by the art historian Yuri Primarosaresponsible for the didactics of the Barberini Corsini Galleries as well as a scholar of seventeenth-century art (he was responsible for curating the monographic exhibition on Plautilla Bricci at the Corsini Gallery).

The book, published in double edition (in Italian and English) is the first guide on the main masterpieces of the two galleries and wants to present itself to the public and visitors of the two museums, united since 2015 under a single institutional entity following the reform of the museums, as a anthology of the museum’s heritageof a popular nature but based on a rigorous scientific project, which combines the professional care of the contents with the clarity of the exposition. Primarosa was assisted in its work of selection and design of the contents by the entire staff of the art historians of the Roman museums, composed of Cinzia Ammannato, Tullia Carratù, Maurizia Cicconi, Alessandro Cosma, Andrea G. De Marchi, Michele Di Monte and Paola Nicita. The whole is preceded by an essay by Flaminia Gennari Santoridirector of the National Galleries of Ancient Art, in which the development of the two museums that bear the names of the two papal families protagonists for a long time in the political and cultural events of Rome.

“The Barberini Corsini National Galleries”, explains Gennari Santori in his introduction, “are […] an extraordinary and in their own way unique context museum, the importance of which lies not only in the undeniable masterpieces preserved in it but also in the plot of works and personalities that the collection brings to light. Walking through the halls (and deposits) of the Galleries, one enters the development of the arts in Rome between the 1600s and the end of the 1700s: the disruptive naturalistic revolution triggered by the works of Caravaggio and the countless and extraordinary interpretations that his Italian followers have given. and foreigners; the classicism of the Bolognese painters; the beginnings and the explosion of Baroque painting in the frescoes by Pietro da Cortona in Palazzo Barberini; the classicism of the second half of the seventeenth century, the international environment of the grand tour, the dawn of neoclassicism “. The idea of ​​the volume, Gennari Santori points out at the conclusion of his introduction, is to provide the public with one synthesis of visions of the founders of the two collections, considered from a broader perspective: therefore not only the Barberini family on the one hand and Cardinal Neri Corsini on the other, responsible for the current arrangement of the Lungara gallery and a fine collector, but also Adolfo Venturiwho in 1895 took care of the first installation of the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Palazzo Barberini and to whom we owe the idea of ​​making it a national heritage, Federico Hermanin who directed the gallery in the early twentieth century, expanding it with acquisitions (above all that of Narcissus), and finally Henrietta Hertzauthor of a significant donation to the gallery.

Cover of the book Palazzo Barberini Galleria Corsini.  100 masterpieces
Book cover Barberini Palace Corsini Gallery. 100 masterpieces
Raphael, Portrait of a woman in the role of Venus ( (c. 1519-1520; oil on panel, 87 x 63 cm; Rome, National Gallery of Ancient Art in Rome, Barberini)” />
Raffaello, Portrait of a woman in the role of Venus (“Fornarina”) (c. 1519-1520; oil on panel, 87 x 63 cm; Rome, National Galleries of Ancient Art, Palazzo Barberini)
Caravaggio, Judith beheads Holofernes (1602; oil on canvas, 145 x 195 cm; Rome, National Galleries of Ancient Art, Palazzo Barberini)
Caravaggio, Judith beheads Holofernes (1602; oil on canvas, 145 x 195 cm; Rome, National Galleries of Ancient Art, Palazzo Barberini)
Fra Angelico, Triptych with Ascension, Last Judgment and Pentecost (1447-1448; tempera on wood, 55 x 18 cm, 55 x 38.5 cm, 55 x 18 cm; National Galleries of Ancient Art, Corsini Gallery)
Fra Angelico, Triptych with Ascension, Last Judgment and Pentecost (1447-1448; tempera on wood, 55 x 18 cm, 55 x 38.5 cm, 55 x 18 cm; Rome, National Galleries of Ancient Art, Corsini Gallery)
Orazio Gentileschi, Madonna and Child (1605-1610; oil on canvas, 113 x 91 cm; National Galleries of Ancient Art, Corsini Gallery)
Orazio Gentileschi, Madonna and Child (1605-1610; oil on canvas, 113 x 91 cm; Rome, National Galleries of Ancient Art, Galleria Corsini)
Pietro da Cortona, The Triumph of Divine Providence and the fulfillment of its ends under the pontificate of Urban VIII (1632-1639; fresco; Rome, Palazzo Barberini)
Pietro da Cortona, The Triumph of Divine Providence and the fulfillment of its ends under the pontificate of Urban VIII (1632-1639; fresco; Rome, Palazzo Barberini)

Barberini Palace Corsini Gallery. 100 masterpieces it also includes two short essays on the two palaces (as well as on the most important architectural elements such as Borromini’s helical staircase), as well as a couple of focuses on the two main frescoes found in Palazzo Barberini, theAllegory of Divine Wisdom by Andrea Sacchi and the famous one Allegory of Divine Providence by Pietro da Cortona. In the pages of the book, the masterpieces of Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini are found side by side, without divisions between the two institutes, but with a process that develops in a chronological sense starting from Corsini thronea splendid copy of the late Republican age (from about 40 BC) of an Etruscan throne from the end of the 5th century BC, preserved in the Corsini Gallery, and reaching up to work number 100, a masterpiece of neoclassical sculpture, the Dancer by the sculptor from Carrara Luigi Bienaimé from around 1830, also kept in the halls of Palazzo Corsini, a copy of a Canova sculpture that was very successful at the time of its creation.

The approach with which the cards were drawn up is that typical of a catalog: double page with information on the work on one side and a full page image on the other. The individual descriptions, well cared for and clear, are accompanied not only by technical data (measures, techniques, supports, dimensions, inventory, origin), but also by updated bibliographies. The images arranged in support of the descriptions are those resulting from the photographic campaign undertaken by Bibliotheca Hertziana from Romecarried out largely in the context of the many restorations that have affected the works of Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini in recent years, with the consequence that, thanks to the quality of the reproductions, even the smallest details can be read well.

In between, an extraordinary parade of masterpieces: famous works have been selected for Palazzo Barberini such as the inevitable Fornarina by Raphael and the Saint Francis in meditation and the Judith beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio (in addition to Narcissuswhich in the book is given dubiously to Caravaggio, with a question mark: the card briefly gives an account of the attributive debate that involved the work and it is specified that the name of Spadarino is in any case the one that has garnered the greatest consensus among scholars) , or the Portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger, theEt in Arcadia ego del Guercino and the Penitent Magdalene by Guido Reni, also less famous works but which appear among the pearls of the museum (for example, the Stories of the Passion of Christ by Giovanni Baronzio, the Madonna and Child with San Giovannino by Domenico Beccafumi, the Bathsheba in the bathroom by Jacopo Zucchi). An important weight was given to the works that document the development of the arts in Rome from the fifteenth century onwards: here is Antoniazzo Romano parading with his Madonna and Child with Saints Paul and Francisthe works of the followers of Raphael and Michelangelo, from Giulio Romano to Perin del Vaga, from Daniele da Volterra to Girolamo Genga, to then continue with the masterpieces of the Caravaggeschi and classicists of the seventeenth century up to the eighteenth century of Batoni, Mengs, Hubert Robert, Hackert.

The selection of the Corsini Gallery is instead more contained (in the overall economy of the book, two thirds of the choice are dedicated to Palazzo Barberini), but these are works of great importance, mostly concentrated between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but the masterpieces of the previous eras are not neglected: therefore, cards reserved for Stories of the Passion of Christ by Giovanni da Milano, to the wonderful triptych by Beato Angelico, to the Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist by Fra ‘Bartolomeo, atAdoration of the shepherds by Jacopo Bassano. Follows the anthology of great works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which opens with the Saint John the Baptist in the desert di Caravaggio and touches its peaks with Orazio Gentileschi (the Madonna and ChildGiovanni Lanfranco (the Sant’Agata healed in prison by St. Peter), Pieter Paul Rubens (San Sebastiano cured by the angels), Antoon van Dyck (la Madonna of the straw), Gian Lorenzo Bernini (the Bust of Pope Alexander VII Chigi), without neglecting Vouet, Poussin, Ribera, Giordano, Berentz’s still lifes, Rosalba Carriera’s allegories.

Despite the quality of the book, printed on high-quality ecological paper, with cellulose from responsibly managed forests, and equipped with an elegant graphic design, the price, explain the Barberini Corsini Galleries, has been deliberately kept low for facilitate public access to quality disclosure. Anthology and guide to the main works of the two galleries, Barberini Palace Corsini Gallery. 100 masterpieces stands as one of the most interesting editorial initiatives from the museum world this year.

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