Exhibition 17/11/2011 – 20/5/2012
Curator Zdeněk Kazlepka
This exhibition will please lovers of Italy (in particular Venice) and Italian art in general. Paintings of Italian origin, kept in Moravian and Silesian museums and chateau collections, have so far received little attention. Only the most important and, at the same time, most popular works were examined in detail by art historians and publicly displayed, while many remained hidden in the repositories or dark corners of chateau exhibitions where they were passed unnoticed by visitors. Several years of research into the chateau collections yielded very interesting discoveries that will be presented at the exhibition for the ﬁ rst time both to the expert and the general public. Venetian paintings in Moravia and Silesia come from a number of different, but mainly aristocratic, collections. While the genesis of some of them goes back deep in history, many were not created until the 19th century, with others the collectors' provenance is impossible to trace. Works selected for this exhibition originate from the oldest, and the best, collections owned for many years by the Liechtenstein, Kaunitz, Widmann, Habsburg, Silva Tarouca or Klein of Vízmberk families.
The study of the Venetian paintings in Moravia and Silesia required solid funding as some works needed restoration to be presentable. Pre-restoration surveys often provided essential data for the art-history analysis and critical evaluation of the works of which many were shown to belong to the masterpieces of Venetian painting.
In the 16th to 18th century, Venetian painting was typiﬁ ed by a broad scope of themes and styles springing from the unique political, social and cultural climate of the city on the lagoon. Paintings with religious themes, mythologies, histories, allegories, vedute and capriccios, with erotic undertones, the ubiquitous subject of death, with Baroque torments, anxieties and agitation went hand in hand with frequent returns in the form of "neostyles", Carravaggesque and Riberaesque naturalism and mannerist extravagance, savagery, nostalgia, melancholy, materialized nightmares and centrifugal spatial dynamics. The paintings were not created randomly – their painters frequently let themselves be guided by the taste of the patrons, current literary trends in poetry and drama, free- thinking movements and other factors.
The paintings brought together for the exhibition will not form a chronological sequence but will be divided into several thematic groups which evolved from the material itself and the historical context.
Moravian Gallery in Brno
662 26 Brno