Friday, September 8, 2017

The Corsini Collection: A Window on Renaissance Florence

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in New Zealand.
from 2 September 2017

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
from February 2018

The art and lives of a Florentine dynasty is being revealed in Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki’s new exhibition The Corsini Collection: A Window on Renaissance Florence which opened on Saturday 2 September 2017.

Florentine Painter after Francesco Rosselli, The Execution of Savonarola and Two Companions at Piazza della Signoria, 16th–17th century. Oil on canvas. Florence, Galleria Corsini.

Drawn from the extensive private art collection of the eminent Corsini family in Florence, Italy, the exhibition features Renaissance and Baroque painting by artists such as Botticelli, Caravaggio, Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo.

Matteo Rosselli
The Triumph of David 1610
Galleria Corsini, Florence

It is the first time this collection has toured outside Italy and the first time a Florentine private collection is being displayed in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Corsini Collection provides a window onto the Corsini family’s continuing passion for art and their ongoing loyalty to the city of Florence, which have prevailed through the devastation of World War II and the inescapable forces of nature during the flood in Florence in 1966.

Sandro Botticelli and Workshop, Madonna and Child with Six Angels c1500, tempera and oil on board. Galleria Corsini, Florence

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says it is a privilege to exhibit this exceptional collection in New Zealand.

Anton Domenico Gabbiani Glorification of the Corsini Family: Sketch for the Ceiling Fresco of the Presentation Room of the Palazzo (detail) 1694–95
Florence, Galleria Corsini

‘Our audiences will have the opportunity to experience the fascinating history of an extraordinary family, who turned their love and passion for art into a true vocation, gathering artworks that span from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries,’ she says.

Preserved over time, these masterpieces, as well as fascinating historical objects, demonstrate the period’s celebration of the fine and decorative arts in an immersive Gallery experience.

The story of Florence is also being explored throughout the exhibition. Often called the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence saw a growth of independence in its political, economic and religious spheres. These developments arose from families, such as the Corsini, who strove to influence the way their city held its place within broader Italian politics.

Portraits, landscape, mythological and religious paintings, as well as sculpture, works on paper, furniture, costumes, embroidery, games, kitchen equipment and a lavish dining room set for six, portray the life of this family at the Corsini Palazzo and their patronage of the arts.

The exhibition has been curated by Dr Ludovica Sebregondi with Auckland Art Gallery’s Mary Kisler, Senior Curator, Mackelvie Collection, International Art.

Mary Kisler, who spent time in Italy researching the collection, says the exhibition is a perfect window on the world of Florence, both historically and today.

‘The Corsini Collection has many insights and stories to share about Florence. It tells of a great Italian family, of politics, of the church, of war and wealth and, of course, it tells the story of their art.’

This exhibition is organised by the Galleria Corsini, Florence; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; and MondoMostre, Rome, with the support of the Italian Embassy, the Italian Cultural Institute, Sydney and Dante Alighieri, Auckland.