Published: November 29, 2011
“Florence and the Baroque: Paintings from the Haukohl Family Collection” brings masterworks of Italian painting and sculpture from the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries to the Crocker Art Museum until February 12.
This exhibition is drawn from the largest private American collection of Florentine Baroque painting and features works by key artists such as Cesare Dandini, Jacopo da Empoli and Francesco Furini. The exhibition includes two paintings that have never before been on view to the public †”Saint Sebastian” by Onorio Marinari and Dandini’s “Penitent Magdalene.”
Under the patronage of the Medici princes, late Sixteenth Century Florence was a hotbed of artistic innovation. A new clarity in color, style and subject began to replace the elegant virtuosity of earlier painting. The paintings’ compositions feature richly evocative renderings of period portraits as well as classical religious-based Old Testament and mythological themes.
A tiny Sixteenth Century portrait attributed to da Empoli epitomizes the new naturalism and clarity. By the mid-Seventeenth Century, clear storytelling and emotion is seen in scenes from saints’ lives, as in Felice Ficherelli’s “Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene.” Later in the century, artists who conveyed heightened emotion used looser brushwork as in the turbulent “Annunciation” by Alessandro Gherardini. In the Eighteenth Century the range of subjects broadened to include characters like the exuberant “Harlequin and his Lady.”
The exhibition offers the unusual opportunity to examine an entire family of artists, the Dandini, who were prominent in Florence for more than a century: Cesare and his brother Vincenzo, their nephew Pietro, and Pietro’s son Ottaviano are seen here in mythologies, religious scenes and allegories. The exhibition also provides insight into the history of frame making. Giovanni Battista Vanni’s “Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness” is a jewel of craftsmanship as well as painting. Frames of this quality are rarely seen outside of the Pitti Palace or the Uffizi Museum of Florence.
The Crocker Art Museum is at 216 O Street downtown. For general information, www.crockerartmuseum.org or 916-808-7000.
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