Published: September 30, 2003
Through January 11, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will celebrate the relationship between artist and patron with a major international exhibition, “Raphael, Cellini, and a Renaissance Banker: The Patronage of Bindo Altoviti.”
This historic, scholarly exhibition focuses on the activities of Altoviti, an important Renaissance banker, papal courtier, and politician, as well as a lover of music and an influential collector of art. Including outstanding Renaissance paintings, sculptures, drawings, medals and manuscripts – mostly drawn from Altoviti’s own collection – this intimate and focused exhibition examines the artistic patronage of Bindo Altoviti, providing a comprehensive look at his social, financial and political life.
The exhibition also addresses the broader issues surrounding bankers as patrons during the Renaissance.
“This exhibition offers visitors and scholars opportunities to delve deeper into themes emanating from the riches of the Italian Renaissance and the great impact of one individual on arts and patronage,” says Anne Hawley, Norma Jean Calderwood director. “It is a particularly fitting tribute to Mrs Gardner’s continuing legacy this year, as her remarkable museum celebrates 100 years.”
“Raphael, Cellini, and a Renaissance Banker: The Patronage of Bindo Altoviti” is organized by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, and will travel to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, Italy. The exhibition is co-curated by Alan Chong, curator of the collection at the Gardner, in collaboration with Italian sculpture scholar Dimitrios Zikos and Renaissance scholar Donatella Pegazzano.
The exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, drawings and decorative arts on loan from museums including the British Museum, London; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; as well as several private collections.
“Raphael, Cellini, and a Renaissance Banker” brings together 24 Renaissance works, including an early portrait of the banker by Raphael and the only two monumental bronze portrait busts ever created by Benvenuto Cellini. One, depicting “Cosimo I dé Medici,” has never before been exhibited in the United States.
A catalogue of the exhibition, Raphael, Cellini, and a Renaissance Banker: The Patronage of Bindo Altoviti (Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, 2003) provides a more in-depth look at the patronage of Altoviti, as well as his social, financial and political life during the Renaissance. Edited by Alan Chong, the catalogue broadens the scope of the exhibition by providing opportunities for scholars to explore aspects of the commission, conception and creation of art in the Renaissance, and Altoviti’s role as a prominent banker and rival of the Medici family.
An all-day scholarly symposium, “Il nostro bel Cinquecento: Italian Sculpture of the Sixteenth Century” on Saturday, November 8, 9 am to 5 pm, will bring together experts from around the world to discuss Sixteenth Century sculpture. On two evenings over the course of the exhibition (October 16 and November 13), a pair of evening “Eye of the Beholder” lectures will be presented by noted Renaissance scholars.
For information, www.isgm.org.
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