Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Codroipo: Villa Manin – Giambattista Tiepolo exhibition.

photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

Codroipo: Villa Manin – Giambattista Tiepolo exhibition. The majestic ensemble of Villa Manin, located in Passariano, Codroipo near Udine, is the venue for the Giambattista Tiepolo exhibition, on view until April 7. The villa is one of the most important artistic monuments in Friuli Venezia Giulia. It was commissioned in the 17th century by Ludovico I Manin to celebrate the wealth and power of the Manin family, and it was the family’s country house.  I find that it is a pity that the shutters on windows are shut on the central block, giving the villa a sense of unwelcomed ‘neglect’, though inside it is very much ‘alive’ with this beautifully installed exhibition.

 photograph and copyright manfredi bellati



 On the lateral portico banners announce the Giambattista Tiepolo exhibition, curated by Giuseppe Bergamini, Alberto Craievich and Filippo Pedrocco, over sixty paintings and seventy drawings are on show.

 Photograph courtesy Villa Manin

Villa Manin – Giambattista Tiepolo exhibition. Tiepolo was arguably the most famous Venetian painter in the eighteenth century, the tireless creator of monumental paintings on canvas or frescoes, the indisputable holder of the monopoly of palace decorating both in Venice and on the mainland. Princes and kings from all over Europe contended for his services. The exhibition chronicles his long and prolific activity through a group of particularly significant works, depicting religious and secular subjects, and best representing the enormous variety of works that were commissioned to the painter: allegorical ceilings, altar pieces, decorations in villas.
Above: Abraham visited by the Angels – Venice, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, oil on canvas.
Contessanally note: Except for the audio, there are no English or any other foreign language texts in the exhibition, not even in the catalogue. It still amazes me how these expensive important exhibitions are mounted in a globalized world without the aspiration of attracting foreign visitors.


photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

Villa Manin – Giambattista Tiepolo exhibition. The exhibition also includes several enormous paintings since, as the painter himself once said, "Painters must be able to carry out large works [...] hence the Painter's mind must always strive to achieve Sublimation, Heroism, Perfection".  
Above:  an 1894 quote on Tiepolo by American art historian, Bernard Berenson, “The sensitivity of Tiepolo, for strength, movement, color was large enough to give a new impulse to art.  Sometimes he seems not so much the last of the old masters, but the first of the new.”
Santa Cecilia – 1763-1765 – Barcellona Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.


Villa Manin – Giambattista Tiepolo exhibition. In some cases, the elaborate preparatory work - from the drawings to the sketch and finally to the completed work - is displayed in such great detail that one feels deeply engrossed in Tiepolo's magical world. Particularly delightful are the paintings with historical or mythological subjects, where the painter released his impetuous artistic ability to the full: he did not restrict himself to depicting famous past events, but went on to examine the inner disposition of his characters, bringing to the fore their passions and personal qualities. Equally important and of great emotional impact are the paintings commissioned for churches, as they remind us that Tiepolo was the last inspired painter of Western sacred art.
Above: Study of male character with his hands behind his back – white and red chalk.

The famous Italian dramatist Carlo Goldoni defined Villa Manin and its grand park as “a dwelling fit for a king” and the awe it inspires is still the same today. 

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