Thursday, May 01, 2008
Alexandria, VA – Art Services International is pleased to announce an exhibition of seventy superb sixteenth-century Italian drawings-- "From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci: A Century of Italian Drawings from the Prado" -- from one of the world’s premier art institutions, the Prado Museum in Madrid. Marking the first time that most of these extraordinary works have appeared beyond the walls of the Prado Museum, this exhibition explores the working methods of the most important artists active in Italy during a time of unprecedented artistic patronage. Focusing on examples from Mannerism to the early Baroque period (1520-1620), the works have been selected by Guest Curator, Nicholas Turner, formerly of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Museum, and a specialist in Renaissance and Baroque drawings. Giulio Romano, Paolo Veronese, Giorgio Vasari, and Andrea del Sarto are just a few of the artists represented by detailed studies for commissioned works, as well as intimate primi pensieri – the quick sketches that captured the “heat” of a creative moment. The drawings demonstrate the intrinsic importance of the medium, as well as its significance in the artistic process. Not only highly refined works which were used in preparation for paintings, but also rapid compositional sketches and figure studies are included in the presentation. Research in preparation for the exhibition revealed that the two Michelangelo drawings included are figure studies for the Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgment.
The sixteenth century was a key period for the development of a variety of regional and individual styles of drawing in Europe. During the first half of the century, the technical and representational innovations in figure drawing pioneered at the end of the fifteenth century by Leonardo da Vinci and other Renaissance masters were consolidated and improved upon to such a degree that artists were able to put the practice to a wider range of functions than ever before, achieving exceptional technical proficiency as they did so. By the end of the sixteenth century, drawing was used more and more to record human appearance truthfully, placing the figure within a real setting that showed actual effects of daylight and shadow.
The exhibition, which will travel to three U.S. museums in 2008-2009, reflects the variety and types of drawings produced during this pivotal century, and investigates the artistic characteristics of various geographical regions.
The Museo del Prado houses one of the oldest and greatest collections of art in the world, and at its core are the finest works collected by Spanish royalty. Included in the Prado's collection are nearly four thousand drawings. Those in this exhibition came to the Museum in 1931 through the bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán, who assembled a remarkable collection of drawings from old European collections built up in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Prior to their exhibition in 2005 at the Prado, these sixteenth-century Italian works were mostly unknown, as they had never previously been studied as a group. Only a dozen had been published, and Nicholas Turner’s research for the exhibition resulted in the re-attribution of a number of the works. This tour provides a rare opportunity for American audiences to view these extraordinary drawings for the first time.
Nicholas Turner has written the fully illustrated, all-color catalogue that accompanies the exhibition. An additional essay is provided by Dr. José Manuel Matilla, Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Prado and Curator of the Exhibition. Of particular significance, the catalogue also includes color images and documentation of the remaining 517 sixteenth-century Italian drawings in the Prado’s rich collection – an invaluable resource tool for scholars and students. The English-language catalogue is published by Art Services International.
The exhibition premieres at the Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (October 25, 2008 – January 4, 2009); and then travels to the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (January 24 – April 5, 2009); and to the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma (April 25 – July 5, 2009).
Please mention the following in any articles or written references to the exhibition:
The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International Alexandria, Virginia in association with The Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Support for the national tour has been provided by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
Additional space may permit:
His Excellency Carlos Westendorp, Ambassador of Spain to the United States
is Honorary Patron of the exhibition.
Art Services International is a nonprofit educational institution that organizes touring art exhibitions of the highest quality for museums worldwide, accompanied by scholarly all-color catalogues. These exhibitions include paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and decorative arts that range from the art of the ancient world to works of the Old Masters, and continue through to the contemporary period. ASI exhibitions are drawn from museums and private collections, internationally, and are hosted by museums throughout the United States and Europe. ASI shares with the hosting museums a commitment to enhancing the appreciation of art.
For further information, publicity images, and catalogue orders, please contact Sara Rycroft, Manager, Publications and P.R., Art Services International, 1319 Powhatan Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Lynn K. Rogerson
Director and CEO
(Images courtesy of and used under license from the Photographic Archive, Museo del Prado, Madrid.)