Sunday, 17 June 2012

500 years of Italian art at Kelvingrove

The curators at Kelvingrove have been down to their store rooms and have dusted off a superb collection of Italian art for their Summer exhibition which runs until the 12th of August. It is roughly in chronological order - and since I wandered back and forward a bit with my camera, the order is likely to be even rougher here. Here is my pick of the bunch.

This carving of Saint Catherine of Sienna was carved around 1480 by Neroccio de' Landi. St Catherine had died a century before and had attempted to foster peace between Italian city states. Canonized in 1461 she is more often depicted holding white lilies. In 1940, Pope Pius XII declared her to be joint patron saint of Italy along with St Francis of Assisi

The statue was only ever intended to be seen from the front and, consequentially, the back is much rougher. It looks to me as if it has been shaped to fit onto a block of some description.

Titian's Christ and the Adulteress from around 1508 - 1510

This is only part of the original painting and the head below was cut out of the original at some point in it's past. Apparently (I didn't see it), this fellow's knee is still in the big picture.

Titian (whose real name was Tiziano Vecelli) had a brother called Francisco Vecellio. For a time the painting below of Virgin and Child with Saints Dorothy and Jerome was thought to be by Titian but more recently it's thought that it is at least partly the work of Francisco. There appears to be distinct differences in quality between different figures.

I'm not sure something basically designed to minimise the effect of a good clobbering is really art but I was delighted to see it and keen to post it here. This is known as the Avant (meaning forward) armour as this is engraved on the breastplate. It is one of the oldest near complete suits of armour in the world having been made in around 1440 by the Corio family in Milan. Milan had a name for making particularly good armour.

Different members of the family made different parts of the armour and the marks of each of each craftsman can still be seen on their work. Here we see the marks of the three brothers Giovanni, Ambrogio and Bellino and their cousin Dionisio. A specialist, Giovanni da Garavalle, was contracted in to make the leg armour.

It's lighter than it looks, though 4mm thick in places, it weights around 26 kilos which is less than half the weight a modern soldier is expected to carry. The weight was distributed around the body so the knight would be able to move quite easily and get on and off a horse on his own.

Back to painting and the more famous (though probably not in Italy) Saint Catherine of Alexandria and her wheel by Bartolemio Veneto in around 1520. The crown of jasmine flowers are thought to be symbolic of a halo.

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne by Antiveduto Gramatica around 1614 -1613. Saint Anne (a Greek version of the Hebrew Hannah) is Mary's mother - she doesn't quite make the bible but is mentioned in early Christian writings.

Two piece of pottery by Francesco Xanto Avelli. He was born in Rovigo in the Veneto region of Italy sometime around 1480 and died in 1542.

 St John the Baptist Revealing Christ to the Disciples (1654 - 1655) by Salvator Rosa. It's a great landscape and after all the other religious paintings I've seen, the characters here seem such a minor part of the picture.

Here we are in the Baroque with Andrea Casali's Triumph of Galatea (sometime in the mid 1700s). They do seem to be having rather more fun here than in the biblical scenes.

Francesco Solimena's Virgin and Child from around 1720 - 1730

Time marches on - this is a miniature mid 19th century copy, by an unknown artist, of a statue in the Capitoline Museum in Rome called The Dying Gaul. It is thought to be a fatally wounded gladiator rather than a warrior.

Overlooking a Canal, Venice by Luigi da Rios in 1886

This rather magnificent marble bust by Orazio Andreoni in 1883 is of the heroic Italian leader Giuseppi Garibaldi.

Alas, no matter how history views him in his homeland, up here in Scotland, he remains a biscuit! The Garibaldi was invented in 1861 by Scotsman John Carr (he had defected from the family firm to Peek Freans). The Telegraph website describes Carr as a biscuit makers "demi-god: the first person who succeeded in making an industrial biscuit that was not tooth shatteringly hard". The Garibaldi biscuit was indeed named after the Italian leader who had made a very popular visit to the country some years earlier in 1854.

It appears I have strayed from my original subject - have a very good day.


Crafty Green Poet said...

looks like a very interesting exhibition to wander round!

I didn't know that detail about the Garibaldi biscuit, interesting

Shundo said...

Sandy, I am shocked to see what appears to be a cup of coffee in that picture - tell me you were in fact drinking tea with your squashed fly biscuit!
When I was in London, I took a trip out to the lovely Dulwich Picture Gallery (well worth the detour if you haven't been) to see the Van Dyck exhibition which had a lovely suit of armour as its centre-piece. Unfortunately the guards wouldn't let me take pictures of it, but you can read about it here:

Sandy's witterings said...

It was a great exhibition Juliet - we thoroughly enjoyed it. I reckoned that the history of the bicuit was more relevant than the Italian leader to us Brits (also it took less time to type)

Fear not Shundo, I've not moved over to the other side. Starbucks do tea as well - actually their Earl Grey is particularly good.
Old Filiberto's armour in your link is particularly fancy. I suppose in the 17th century somebody's less likely to take a swing at it with something heavy and/or sharp that might damage the fine engraving.

Shundo said...

Glad to hear you hadn't defected. You're probably right about Filiberto's armour too.