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Twelve Rare Works of Art to Be Shown Together for the First Time
Medusa (circa 1480), a terracotta relief, by Andrea del Verrocchio.
NEW YORK, NY.- In their first collaborative exhibition, two renowned Renaissance and Baroque fine art specialists, Andrew Butterfield of Andrew Butterfield Fine Arts and Fabrizio Moretti of Moretti Fine Art, will present Body and Soul: Masterpieces of Italian Renaissance and Baroque Sculpture on Thursday, October 21 through Friday, November 19, 2010 at Moretti Fine Art, 24 East 80th Street in New York.

“We are very pleased to present this group of twelve rare masterpieces of Italian sculpture, which are on view for the first time,” said Andrew Butterfield. “We have assembled the best of the best of museum-quality works of art that represent the epitome of Renaissance and Baroque artistry.” According to Butterfield, sculpture is one area of the market where it is still possible for a collector to assemble a great collection worthy of a top international museum.

The works that Butterfield and Moretti have acquired for this exhibition, including sculptures by Riccio (the subject of a recent exhibition at the Frick Collection), Verrocchio (Leonardo da Vinci’s teacher) and Algardi, combine ideality and naturalism of form with intensity and depth of expression. In these works the artists aimed to grasp not only the outer appearance but also the inner life of the figures they represent, hence the exhibition’s title, Body and Soul. The range of emotion depicted is extraordinary, from the peace and serenity of Sansovino’s Charity -- literally an embodiment of divine love -- to the fear and anger of Verrocchio’s Medusa -- a manifestation of Olympian terror.

“It is a great pleasure to collaborate with Andrew Butterfield, one of the preeminent scholars in the field,” said Fabrizio Moretti, who developed a friendship with Butterfield after meeting him at The European Fine Art Fair, in Maastricht, The Netherlands five years ago. “Over the past few years, we have made significant discoveries, which exemplify the genius and beauty of Italian sculpture, and will bring to the forefront twelve very important acquisitions that we believe will appeal to a broad audience of connoisseurs, curators and historians, as well as the general public.” According to Moretti, each piece was selected for its rarity and historic significance in the trajectory of Renaissance and Baroque sculpture, from the 15th through 18th centuries.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

Madonna, by Andrea Riccio (circa 1510), a life-size sculpture, is the first statue of the artist to be rediscovered in many years, and is the first work by him in terracotta to come on the market since the Thyssen Madonna and Child was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2002. “This is a sculpture of extraordinary power,” said Butterfield. “It is like a great Bellini Madonna, only in 3-D.”

Charity (circa 1510), a terracotta statue, is a masterpiece by Jacopo Sansovino, who was, after Michelangelo, the leading sculptor of the sixteenth century. No work by the artist has come to light and been acquired by a museum since 1931. Sansovino is celebrated for the Raphaelesque style of his sculpture, and that is especially true of this work, with its exceptionally graceful pose and elegant draperies. Sansovino’s models, according to Vasari, were used by Andrea del Sarto and other Florentine painters. Sarto used this statue as the basis of his painting of Charity in the Chiostro dello Scalzo in Florence and it also influenced his Madonna of the Harpies (now on view in the Uffizi) among other works. Sansovino’s models were among the first to be collected, by patrons as well as by other artists. Only eight survive in the world, and all the others are in museum collections.

Medusa (circa 1480), a terracotta relief, by Andrea del Verrocchio, is the first work by Verrocchio, the teacher of Leonardo, to be discovered in twenty-five years. “In its intensity of expressiveness and its freshness of modeling, it is among the most powerful works of Renaissance sculpture in North America,” said Moretti.

Allegory, Model for the Catafalque of Carlo Barberini (1630), by Alessandro Algardi, represents Baroque sculpture at its best. Commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and made under the direction of Gianlorenzo Bernini, who was the mastermind of the project, this work served as a model for a statue on the funerary monument of Carlo Barberini, the pope’s brother. According to Butterfield, this is the most important Baroque terracotta to be discovered since Bernini’s modello for the Fountain of the Moor acquired by the Kimbell Museum in 2004.

Moretti Fine Art | Andrew Butterfield | Fabrizio Moretti |


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