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First ever exhibition in Australia dedicated to Renaissance paintings opens in Canberra
Attributed to Marco del Buono and Apollonio di Giovanni, Love procession c.1440s. Tempera on wood panel, 39.2 x 56.0 cm. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, bequest of Antonietta Noli, widow of Carlo Marenzi 1901.
CANBERRA.- The National Gallery of Australia opened the first ever exhibition in Australia dedicated to Renaissance paintings. The exhibition is titled Renaissance – 15th & 16th Century Italian Paintings from the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, it is the Gallery’s major summer exhibition.

The exhibition features more than 70 paintings including works by Italian masters such as Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini and Mantegna – artists whose paintings have never been seen in Australia before.

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries of Italian art are the foundation of the grand tradition of European painting. The genius of artists such as Raphael, Botticelli and Titian is known to most Australians, but visitors to this exhibition will also discover the talents of less wellknown painters such as Tura, Crivelli, Lotto, Vivarini, Carpaccio, Perugino and Moroni.

None of the works in the exhibition has ever left Europe before. The paintings are only able to be loaned by the National Gallery of Australia because the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo is renovating its display spaces and is closed. The National Gallery of Australia has organised the exhibition in partnership with the City of Bergamo and its Pinacoteca Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. The city of Bergamo is situated in the province of Lombardy in Northern Italy, near Milan.

‘Renaissance is an unparalleled opportunity for Australians to see works of extraordinary quality created by masters of the Early and High Renaissance period without having to travel overseas. There has never been an exhibition in Australia that has included fifteenthcentury Italian art, and this period is barely represented in Australian collections,’ said Dr Ron Radford AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia.

‘Some of the most famous names in the history of art are represented in the exhibition. No paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini or Perugino have ever been shown in Australia before,’ he said.

The paintings emanate from cities and courts of Renaissance high culture. In Venice, Florence, Bergamo, Padua, Ferrara and Siena, the Church and private patrons commissioned religious scenes as well as magnificent portraits. Some of the paintings in this exhibition were originally sizeable church altarpieces, the like of which have rarely been seen in Australia, but the majority of the paintings are intimate devotional panels commissioned for private use.

Christine Dixon, Senior Curator of International Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia and Co-ordinating Curator of the exhibition said, ‘The Renaissance exhibition will provide visitors with an intriguing view of the beliefs and lifestyles of both the elite and the ordinary Italian citizen of the time. The Gallery is proud to present such a unique show which will allow visitors to appreciate the beauty of these 500 year old works which still speak to us today.’





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December 11, 2011

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