Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bellini, Titian, and Lotto: North Italian Paintings from the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

The best thing at the Metropolitan Museum right now is a small, radiant show called Bellini, Titian, and Lotto: North Italian Paintings from the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.

Because of restoration, Accademia Carrara lent the Met fifteen paintings by Venetian and north Italian masters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, including works by Bellini, Titian, and Lorenzo Lotto.

For me, the highlight of the exhibit was the exquisite and psychologically astute Portrait of a Twenty-Nine-Year-Old Man by Giovanni Battista Moroni. From the gallery label:
This portrait of an unidentified young man shows Moroni at the height of his powers. The direct manner and the sitter’s forthright gaze are hallmarks of the artist’s approach. The great historian Roberto Longhi wrote that the depiction is "so real, simple, documentary that it actually communicates a sense of certainty of having known the model." The painting is one of a small group in which the sitter is shown bust length behind a parapet bearing an inscription as if carved in elegant letters, sometimes giving the sitter’s age and the date.
Indeed, why embellish a portrait with props, fancy clothing, or crazy brushstrokes? This was a lesson in simplicity that took my breath away. Moroni deserves a higher profile.

The exhibit will be on view until September 3, 2012. More images here.

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Orpheus and Eurydice (ca. 1508–12)

Giovanni Bellini
Pietà with the Virgin and Saint John (ca. 1455–60)

Lorenzo Lotto
Portrait of Lucina Brembati (1518–23)

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Portrait of a Twenty-Nine-Year-Old Man (1567)

Giovanni Cariani (Giovanni Busi)
Giovanni Benedetto Caravaggi (1517–20)

Bergognone (Ambrogio di Stefano da Fossano)
Madonna and Child (Madonna del Latte) (ca. 1485)

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