In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Nederlands Interuniversitair Kunsthistorisch Instituut (Dutch University Institute for Art History,NIKI) in Florence, the exhibition Firenze e gli antichi Paesi Bassi 1430-1530. Dialoghi tra artisti: da Jan van Eyck a Ghirlandaio, da Memling a Raffaello… (Florence and the Netherlands 1430-1530, artistic dialogues: from Jan van Eyck to Ghirlandaio, from Memling to Raphael…) will be on view in the summer of 2008 at the Galleria Palatina in Florence. In the same period, the exhibition Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Collections of the Printroom of the Uffizi Gallery will be on show. These were the immediate reasons to organize the CODART ELF study trip to a country that over the centuries has had strong connections to the Netherlands: Italy. The art treasures in churches, museums and private collections still bear witness to this rich cultural exchange. Recently, several exhibitions have been organized on this topic, such as the Droom van Italië (Dreaming of Italy) show in the Mauritshuis in 2006 and the exhibition Traum vom Süden: die Niederländer malen Italien (Dreaming of the south: The Dutch paint Italy) in the Gemäldegalerie of the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna last winter.
Genoa, Turin, Florence
Merchants from Genoa who settled temporarily in the southern Netherlands gave commissions to artists such as Gerard David and Joos van Cleve, whose works they then took with them when they returned home, incorporating them into their collections. There were also Genovese merchants who invited Flemish artists to their city to work. Rubens went there for the first time in 1604, executing a number of altarpieces and portraits for some of the leading families. Anthony van Dyck lived in Genoa (1621-1622 and 1624-1627) and worked as one of the most popular portrait painters for the elite. The wealthy businessmen also built new palaces, which they had decorated by artists from the north. There appears to have been a tightly knit community of Flemish artists established in the city.
From 1861-65 Turin was the capital of Italy and the city is still home to a number of excellent collections. The collection of the Galleria Sabauda was once housed in the Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace. The collection of Dutch and Flemish masters was brought together mainly by Prince Eugenio di Savoia-Soissons.
Florence, too, of course, has several important collections of Dutch and Flemish art. This study trip will focus on the Dutch and Flemish works in the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Galleria Palatina in the Palazzo Pitti. The highpoints of the trip, in addition to the aforementioned museums (and, where possible, their storage facilities) will be, among others, a visit to the Corridoio in Florence, a visit to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, and a tour of churches along the coast.
The NIKI is responsible for a wide-ranging program of teaching and research into the history of art, in particular the relationship between Italian and Dutch and Flemish art. It was founded in 1958, forms part of Utrecht University and is administered by a group of six universities. The Institute promotes research on Italian, Dutch and Flemish art and artists in Italy, and on the rich tradition of artistic exchange and mutual influence between Italy and the North. It provides scholars and students from the Netherlands and elsewhere with accommodation, research and publication opportunities, as well as the use of its library in a city with extraordinary resources for art historical research and international academic training and exchange. In addition the Institute publishes scholarly works and organizes lectures, conferences and exhibitions. For an overview of previous NIKI activities, see the article by Raffaella Colace, Bert W. Meijer’s influential role in study and research projects on Dutch and Flemish art in Italy, in CODART Courant 7 (2003), pp. 6-8.
Gert Jan van der Sman presented some current NIKI-projects during the CODART ELF congress in Ghent. One of the recent projects is the digitization of the rich photographic archives of the NIKI. A summary of Van der Sman’s presentation can be found at www.codart.nl/codart_elf.
For many years, the Institute has been in the process of creating the multi-volume Repertory of Dutch and Flemish works in Italian public collections, several volumes of which have now been published. This project deals with almost 10,000 works of art spread all over Italy, and is designed to establish more precise details about the history and identity of these pieces, so as to gain a better understanding of their significance. The study trip, which will be partly accompanied by Prof. Dr. Bert Meijer, director of the NIKI, will provide the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the most recent state of research on this project.
For more background information on the places we are going to be visiting please see the following (Word) document: Background CODART ELF study trip to Italy.
Summary of the program of the study trip to Italy
Tuesday, 24 June
- Check in hotel Best Western Vivahotel Santa Croce. For more information abou the hotel see www.florence-hotels-capitol.com
- Walking tour in Florence guided by Anja de Vries starting from the Best Western Vivahotel Santa Croce. The group will assemble at the lobby of the hotel at 14:00.
- Drinks offered by the Royal Netherlands Embassy at Rivoire
Wednesday, 25 June
- Visit to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure. For more information about the Opificio see www.opificiodellepietredure.it
- Visit to the reserves of the Galleria degli Uffizi.
- Walk to Palazzo Pitti through the Corridoio Vasariano (portraits).
- Visit to the opening of the exhibition Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Collections of the Printroom of the Uffizi gallery , curated by Wouter Kloek and Bert Meijer. For more information about the Uffizi see www.uffizi.com
- Reception and dinner at the NIKI, offered by the NIKI and the Royal Netherlands Embassy. For more information about the NIKI see www.niki-florence.org
Thursday, 26 June
- Visit to the Palazzo Pitti/Galleria Palatina with an introduction to the history of the collection by Dr. Serena Padovani, director of the Galeria Palatina. Visit to the reserves, guided by Marco Chiarini, former director of Galleria Palatina and compiler of catalogues and exhibitions of Dutch and Flemish art in Italy. Visit to the exhibition Florence and the ancient Netherlands 1430-1530 between Jan van Eyck and Raphael. For more information see www.palazzopitti.it
- Visit to Santa Maria Maddalena (Calvary attributed to Pieter Brueghel II the Younger; Crucifixion attributed to Van Dyck).
- Visit to San Michele (altarpiece Christ on the cross with St. Francis, St. Bernhard and the donor, Francesco Orero by Anthony van Dyck) in San Michele di Pagana.
- Visit to San Lorenzo della Costa (triptych by the Master of San Lorenzo della Costa of 1499, executed in Bruges for a Genovese merchant) in Santa Margherita Ligure.
- Check in hotel Jolly Hotel Plaza. For more information www.nh-hotels.com.com
Friday, 27 June
- Visit to Il Gesu (two altarpieces by Rubens).
- Visit to San Donato (altarpiece The adoration of the magi by Joos van Cleve).
- Visit to Santa Maria di Castello (Annunciation by Justus von Ravensburg).
- Visit to Palazzo Spinola. For more information see www.palazzospinola.it
- Visit to the Museo Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso with an introduction to the history of collections in Genoa by Prof. Piero Boccardo. Visit in groups to the reserves of 15th-, 16th- and 17th-century paintings and a visit to the drawings collection. For more information see www.museopalazzobianco.it and www.museopalazzorosso.it
- Dinner at Palazzo del Principe.
Saturday, 28 June
- Check in hotel Le Petit Hotel. For more information about Le Petit Hotel see www.lepetithotel.it
- Visit to the Galleria Sabauda with a short introduction to the plans for the new gallery in the Palazzo Reale by soprintendente Dr. Carla Enrica Spantigati. To be confirmed. For more information about the Galleria Sabauda see www.museitorino.it/galleriasabauda
- Visit to Palazzo Madama – Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, see www.palazzomadamatorino.it
- Farewell dinner.
Saturday, 28 June
Walking tour of Turin, guided by Prof. Gianni Carlo Sciolla of the University of Turin. The study trip will end at 12:00.