Exhibition: A Picture Gallery in the Italian Tradition of the Quadreria (1750 – 1850)
The exhibition showcases 29 paintings and drawings, all in the Italian figurative tradition, by various European masters created between the mid-18th and mid-19th century. A Picture Gallery in the Italian Tradition of the Quadreria (1750-1850) is on view at Sperone Westwater 10 January through 23 February 2013. The exhibition aims to evoke the manner in which collections – known as quadrerie – were formed in Italy in the 18th and 19th Centuries, as well as the way in which they were displayed, covering entire walls of the palazzi that housed them. This criterion predates the modern picture gallery, which follows a more scientific idea of classification derived from Illuminism. In addition to satisfying decorative motivations, the arrangement of works within a Quadreria followed the collector’s personal taste, with pictures hung according to related subjects or artistic genres. Most of the works on view have never been exhibited or published, although many of them are widely documented in literary sources of the time. Firmly grounded in research, the exhibition presents significant works – masterpieces in some cases – by artists who are not widely known beyond specialist academic circles, but who nonetheless have played a key role in art history, with a view to illustrating the progress that research in Italy has made over the past thirty years. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition groups the works according to artistic or iconographic genre, first with a series of portraits that offer insight into society of the time, followed by history and figure painting – considered the noblest artistic genre in the neoclassical academy tradition – and lastly, landscapes, to illustrate the phenomenon of the Grand Tour with Classical ruins and popular views.