At last, the Griffoni Polyptych! The long-awaited exhibition opens in Bologna, and may last until December

The long-awaited Griffoni Polyptych exhibition finally opens in Bologna: doors open from today daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and perhaps the exhibition will last until December.

Everything is finally ready in Bologna for the opening of The Rediscovery of a Masterpiece, thelong-awaited exhibition that brings back to the city the Griffoni Polyptych, a masterpiece by Francesco del Cossa and Ercole de’ Roberti (to which we dedicated an in-depth article in our quarterly paper), after more than five hundred years since it was created (it dates back to 1470-1472) and three hundred since it was dispersed: the exhibition, organized at Palazzo Fava by Genus Bononiae, could not even start due to coronavirus restrictive measures. But now it can: starting this afternoon, therefore, gates open for visitors.

In the past weeks, all the security measures required for the safe access of visitors have been studied, as required by the regulations to contain the contagion, and a protocol has been drafted that provides, among other things, the extension of the opening hours(from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.), the restriction of entrances, the mandatory reservation (online, by phone or by email) and the use of personal protective equipment.

The exhibition consists of two sections: the Piano Nobile of Palazzo Fava will host Il Polittico Griffoni rinasce a Bologna curated by Mauro Natale in collaboration with Cecilia Cavalca: the original panels surviving to date from the Lending Museums will be on view along with the reconstruction of the Polyptych, a true rematerialization of the altarpiece as it must have appeared to the Bolognese in the late 15th century. It is a perfect reproduction of the original made by Adam Lowe’s Factum Foundation. Since the early 2000s Factum Foundation has been working to document, monitor and recreate the world’s cultural heritage through the development of high-resolution recording techniques and 3D reconstruction.

The second floor therefore will host the section The Materiality of the Aura: New Technologies for Preservation curated by Adam Lowe, Guendalina Damone and the Facto Foundation team: this section will show, through videos, images and demonstrations with 3D scanning tools designed by the foundation itself, Factum’s work and the importance of digital technologies in the preservation, recording and sharing of cultural heritage, just starting with the work done on the original panels of the Polyptych.

Until when will it be possible to visit it? Perhaps until December 2020, anticipates the president of Genus Bononiae, Fabio Roversi-Monaco: “the intent that has guided us is to propose an event of high cultural value that, born from serious and rigorous research, can connect the references of the city and its history to a wider national and international scene. Having untangled the knots on the opening, advanced negotiations with the Lending Museums for a long extension until the end of December 2020 are now underway. To this end we have taken all necessary steps. At the same time, we await the last two expected works, those from the Louvre, which the closure of borders due to the pandemic has kept in Paris.”

The exhibition comes after more than two years of work and the involvement of nine international museums that own the individual plates, half of which are located outside national borders (National Gallery in London, Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, Louvre in Paris, National Gallery of Art in Washington, Cagnola Collection in Gazzada, Vatican Museums, National Pinacoteca in Ferrara, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Vittorio Cini Collection in Venice).

“I express great satisfaction with this exhibition of the highest cultural value,” says Carisbo Foundation President Carlo Monti. “A project that not only brings back to Bologna after three hundred years a great masterpiece, but also restores to Bologna its rightful centrality in the panorama of Italian Renaissance art.”

“The reunion in Bologna of all the known elements of the great altar machine by Francesco del Cossa and Ercole de’ Roberti has long been one of the priorities of the art history of the city of Bologna,” explains curator Mauro Natale, “not only because the Polyptych was created by two of the most original and strongest artistic personalities of the Italian 15th century, but also because the figurative void left by this dismembered and dispersed masterpiece has long conditioned the understanding of the role Bologna played artistically in one of the most fertile and delicate moments of the country’s history. Credit must be given to Fabio Roversi-Monaco’s confident determination if what seemed like an exhibition utopia has taken shape: finding in Bologna a work dismembered and reassembled over more than five centuries will constitute (this is our greatest hope) an unforgettable visual experience.”

“The aura of a work of art, that intangible thing that has been used to define its originality,” says Adam Lowe, “is actually its material presence. Through high-resolution recording, digital mediation and new visualization and re-materialization technologies, we can have a deeper understanding of the material aspects that make any object what it is. This evidence reveals not only how an object was made, but also how it was cared for, evaluated, transformed, and moved from one city to another or from one type of institution to another.” .

The Rediscovery of a Masterpiece can be visited daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (access until 9 p.m.). Ticket: full 15 euros and various forms of reduced (10 to 12 euros). Reduced for Culture Card holders, to be presented at the ticket office. Mandatory online reservation, info on the Genus Bononiae website.

The exhibition is a project of Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna, Genus Bononiae. Musei nella città, in collaboration with Basilica di San Petronio, Polo Museale Emilia Romagna, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Factum Foundation, Municipality of Bologna. Under the patronage of: MiBACT Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Pontifical Council for Culture, Emilia Romagna Region, Church of Bologna. With the contribution of: Chamber of Commerce Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Bologna. Main Sponsor: Rekeep, Intesa Sanpaolo, Special Partner: Termal Group. Sponsors: IMA Group, Polfil, L’Angelica, Hera Group, Aon, Confindustria Emilia Area Centro. Technical Sponsor: Cotabo.

Pictured: detail of Saint Lucia by Francesco del Cossa (c. 1472; tempera on panel, 79 x 56 cm; Washington, National Gallery), one of the panels of the Griffoni Polyptych.

At last, the Griffoni Polyptych! The long-awaited exhibition opens in Bologna, and may last until December
At last, the Griffoni Polyptych! The long-awaited exhibition opens in Bologna, and may last until December

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