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Moroni and his land

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Albino (Bergamo), City Hall, Parish Church of San Giuliano Martire 

 

Bergamo, Accademia Carrara

 

Brescia, Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo - Fondazione Brescia Musei

 

Bergamo, Palazzo Moroni: web channels of FAI – Fondo Italiano per l’Ambiente

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Discovering the great artist on a journey between the towns of Bergamo and Brescia

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To coincide with the celebrations of Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture 2023, Intesa Sanpaolo, Main Partner of the event, presents “Moroni (1521 - 1580) The portrait of his time” an exhibition dedicated to Giovan Battista Moroni, an artist of exceptional value who lived and worked in the two cities of Lombardy, at Gallerie d'Italia - Milano. The international exhibition opens to the public from 6 December 2023 and will run until 1 April 2024. It is curated by Simone Facchinetti and Arturo Galansino, in partnership with the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo and Fondazione Brescia Musei, under the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic. The exhibition aims to present Giovan Battista Moroni's entire artistic career for the first time, contextualised and compared with the experiences of painters such as Lorenzo Lotto, Moretto, Savoldo, Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto.

The exhibition is further enhanced by the video project “Moroni and his land”, a journey through the principal sites of the great painter's life and artistic career, places that were crucial to his creative trajectory and fortune as a painter in the Lombardy region. An ideal journey, divided into four stages, sees the involvement of the main museums and territorial settings linked to Moroni's life, such as the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, the Municipality with the Parish of San Giuliano Martire and the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pianto in Albino (BG), the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo in Brescia and Palazzo Moroni in Bergamo. Four investigations distinguished by an engaging narrative with pictures and interviews with the curators of the Gallerie d'Italia - Milano exhibition, as well as exponents and experts linked to the institutions involved, who, in order to showcase the places and works, open windows onto the life and education, career and fortune of Giovan Battista Moroni, while also intriguing the public in the run-up to the great Milanese exhibition.

Appointments to be experienced online from the web channels of the Gallerie d'Italia, Intesa Sanpaolo's museums, and visible directly in the venues of the organisations that have collaborated: for Palazzo Moroni in Bergamo, the contribution will be visible on the web channels of FAI - Fondo Italiano per l'Ambiente. Produced by Sky Arte, with the contribution of 3D Produzioni, the investigations will be completed by a more extensive documentary dedicated to Giovan Battista Moroni, a comprehensive account of the great artist, which will also feed into the exhibition.

MORONI’S LIFE – Albino (Bergamo)

Moroni was born in around 1521 in Albino, a village 13 kilometres from Bergamo, in Val Seriana. It was only in the 1560s, when the most influential families of Bergamo, who were also his main patrons, found themselves engaged in a power struggle, that Moroni returned to his hometown. This was not, however, an “exile” for him, but a new phase in his life and art: not only did he continue to paint, especially for local churches, he also participated in local politics (in 1571 he was elected Consul in Albino). The content of the video takes the viewer into Moroni's land, with evocative exterior views of the landscape and the town, and then inside the religious buildings where some of the artist's works, which will then be present in the exhibition, are still preserved: the Church of San Giuliano Martire and the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pianto. We see his painting close to, and indeed in some respects anticipating, the spirituality of the Counter-Reformation (he himself had experienced it first-hand, working in Trent during the years of the Council); his new way of painting the landscape, which, in its most advanced phase, seems to amplify the emotion of the religious event in the foreground in the natural background; and possibly that explicit rendering of personal prayer and “mental oration” that was a much-debated topic at the time. Another opportunity to explore the sacred production of Giovan Battista Moroni.

The video contribution is also available at Albino Town Hall, Piazza Libertà, 1, and at the parish church of San Giuliano Martire in Albino.

 

MORONI'S CAREER - Accademia Carrara in Bergamo 

Moroni was the first Italian artist to make portraiture the focus of his production, and the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo is the museum with the largest number of his works.
 The way in which Moroni pursued this pictorial genre is explored through these extraordinary paintings, which particularly portray local politicians and aristocrats of all ages. The Maestro chose to distance himself from the state portrait that was fashionable at the time and which idealised the model, preferring instead the “natural” portrait depicting not only the real aspect but above all the psychology of the subject. He adopted an openness towards humanity as a whole, which would lead Moroni to portray - in a completely unconventional way - also people from more humble social backgrounds, such as the Priest of the Accademia Carrara.

The Bergamo museum will provide the opportunity to experience a further investigation, dedicated to a figure who played a key role in Bergamo's artistic scene and whose place Moroni would later take: this was Lorenzo Lotto, who spent more than twelve years in the town from 1513/14 to 1525 and who, like Moroni, painted the passions, anxieties and doubts of his subjects.

The video contribution is also available on site at the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo.

MORONI'S APPRENTICESHIP - Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia, Fondazione Brescia Musei

Evocative footage of the museum's rooms offers an overview of the key figures of Italian naturalism, from Vicenzo Foppa to Savoldo and Romanino, with a special focus on Alessandro Bonvicino, aka Moretto, Moroni's teacher.

Thanks to the analysis of some of his selected works such as the Rovellio Altarpiece (featured in the exhibition at Gallerie d'Italia - Milan) - with those exceptional young pupils of the grammar school master Galeazzo Rovellio, who commissioned the work - or the Gentleman with a Letter, an opportunity to explore what the young Giovan Battista Moroni was able to learn in Moretto's workshop in the 1540s between religious painting and portraits is created. A tangible trace of Moroni's apprenticeship is preserved at the Pinacoteca: the drawings in his notebook (which will be reconstructed precisely for the exhibition), two of which are copies of figures from an altarpiece by Moretto now in the Pinacoteca di Brera.

The video contribution is also available on site at the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo in Brescia.

MORONI'S COLLECTIONS - Palazzo Moroni - FAI Heritage - Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano with the collaboration of the Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni, 2019

A magnificent 17th-century building and a family that shared not only the artist's surname - despite the fact that they were not related - but also a passion for his paintings: this is the story told by Palazzo Moroni in Bergamo. A unique place, currently managed by the FAI - Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano - with its Italian garden, orchard and frescoed rooms filled with portraits, landscapes, sculptures, furniture and objets d'art, intertwining with the history of Moroni's fortune and collecting activities, is presented here.

The owners began collecting some of the painter's works as early as the 17th century and continued to do so over the years.  The most significant entry of Moroni's works into the collection coincides with the consignment of three paintings belonging to the Grumelli family to Count Pietro until the mid-19th century, as settlement of a debt: the well-known The man in pink, which depicts Giovanni Gerolamo Grumelli dressed in a flamboyant shade of coral, a rather eccentric, almost excessive colour, if we consider that the most fashionable colour in 1560 was black; the Portrait of Isotta Brembati, a refined and polyglot poetess whose second  marriage was to Giovanni Gerolamo; and the Portrait of Medea Rossi, his mother. Valuable works which, by no mere coincidence, decorate the building's Sala dell'Età dell'Oro and will also be on loan to the exhibition at the Gallerie d'Italia in Milan.

Closed since October 2023 to allow the completion of the major restoration project which has been underway since 2019, Palazzo Moroni reopened its doors on the 19th of November, in all its splendour, with new rooms, redesigned gardens and spaces that will make for a unique visitor experience.

The video will be released on official FAI's web channels.