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L’età di Rubens: dimore, committenti e collezionisti genovesi

The age of Rubens: Genovese homes, patrons and collectors Exhibition: 20 March - 11 July 2004

From the museum website

The show The Age of Rubens: Genovese Homes, Patrons and Collectors presents the theme of private collecting in Genoa at the beginning of the modern period. It will be an occasion to view some of Genoa’s most beautiful private collections to be reassembled for the show; collections that hung in the aristocratic homes of Genoa that Rubens visited and memorialized in the famous volume of etchings, The Palaces of Genoa, published in 1622. Rubens’ visit to Genoa coincided in fact with a moment of great development in private collecting in the city, when la Superba became a real crossroads for artists active in those years, such as Caravaggio, Agostino Tassi, Procaccini, the De Wael brothers, Battistello Caracciolo,Simon Vouet and Van Dyck in addition to a flock of other Flemish artists and painters of the local school such as Domenico Fiasella, Bernardo Strozzi, Luciano Borzone, Grechetto…

The show, on the calendar from March to July 2004, will be held in the Doge’s Apartment in the Palazzo Ducale. The most important works of the Genovese collections of the first half of the seventeenth century will be exhibited. And to better recreate the atmosphere of the environments that housed the works, the rooms will be completed by objects and sumptuous furnishings such as silver and tapestries of the very homes of the Genovese aristocracy where the paintings first hung. About 120 objects will be shown, in addition to the furnishings, along with works by some of the greatest artists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: first of all, Rubens, but also Van Dyck, Van Cleve, Frans Floris, Jan Matsys, Paris Bordon, Tintoretto, Bruegel, Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Bernardo Strozzi, Orazio Gentileschi, Jan Roos, Tiziano, Veronese, Guercino and others.

The exhibit is the key event of the historical and artistic theme of 2004, and will be a feature of the European Cultural program of the year, linked with the initiatives in Lille, the other European Capital of Culture in 2004, which will dedicate a show entirely to Rubens’ work, creating a sort of debate on the figure of the Flemish artist.

The originality of the Genovese show consists of presenting artists exhibited in relation to the collector who commissioned the work and the ideal reconstruction of some of the greatest collections of the Balbi, Doria, Serra, Pallavicino, Spinola and Imperiale families. The universal appeal of the show lies in the fact that the commission was not made by a sovereign, like in other city-states, but by an entire ruling class of a Republic.
The theme of collecting and patronage which is preliminary to it, constitutes in effect the fundamental nature of Genovese culture in the modern age, especially for its direct relationship to architectural characteristics of the cities’ homes. Homes that were meant to host illustrious personages visiting the city – the circuit of the Rolli palaces, defined as the Republican palaces, are an integral part of the project of urban enhancement for Genoa 2004.


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