Perugia announces exhibition that places Perugino in dialogue with Burri

In Perugia, Palazzo Baldeschi will host from June 21 to Oct. 2, 2023, the exhibition "NERO Perugino/Burri," which will place the works of Perugino in dialogue with those of Alberto Burri, united by the formal solution of the black background.

From June 21 to Oct. 2, 2023, Palazzo Baldeschi, Corso Vannucci, Perugia, will host the exhibition NERO Perugino/Burri, commissioned by Fondazione Perugia as part of the activities promoted for the celebrations of the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, with the aim of placing in dialogue the works of Perugino and Alberto Burri, artists of Umbrian origin who share the suggestive and peculiar formal solution of the black background, hence the title of the event. The exhibition aims to make evident the artistic bond that, almost five hundred years later, ideally unites the art of Perugino with the work of Alberto Burri.

About twenty works will be on display, carefully selected by the two curators: art historian Vittoria Garibaldi and Burri Foundation President Bruno Corà. Thanks to the collaboration with the Burri Foundation, which has made available the works of the artist from Todi, and to the important loans from prestigious museums, starting from the National Gallery of Umbria to the Uffizi Gallery and the Louvre Museum, it has been possible to create an exhibition itinerary that intends to bring out the common traits of two artists equal in size and only apparently distant. The works of the Renaissance masters and Perugino, in particular, were in fact a fundamental source of inspiration for Burri. The most obvious element that unites the works in the exhibition is the black background, thus deprived of landscape or perspective-architectural settings and representing a great innovation for Perugino’s time and one of the most recurrent features in Burri’s work.

“The Intuition of comparing the two masters,” explained Perugia Foundation President Cristina Colaiacovo, “developed from the desire to enhance, on the occasion of the Cinquecentenario, the most precious jewel of the art collection owned by the Foundation: the Perugino panel Madonna with Child and two cherubs. This was the origin of the itinerary, which was initially intended to be dedicated only to Pietro Vannucci and which, subsequently, led us, thanks to the expertise of the curators, to an original exhibition that represents a true novelty in the exhibition scene. We are very grateful to the Burri Foundation for this fruitful collaboration between cultural institutions in the area, which we will continue to cultivate for the benefit of the attractiveness of our region.”

Vittoria Garibaldi, who curated the major exhibition on Perugino in 2004, said, “I had the honor of knowing, but especially of frequenting Alberto Burri in the 1980s. He used to retrace the paths of the Renaissance in central Italy together with his closest friends such as Nemo Sarteanesi. This is a dialogue with distant roots that finds confirmation in the lines, forms and chromatic sensibilities that unite the two great artists.”

For his part, Bruno Corà said, “The affinities to be grasped in this exhibition episode with Perugino, just as occurred in 2015 on the occasion of Burri’s confrontation with Piero della Francesca and even with Signorelli, reside in the relationship between their works that Brandi has defined as ”allotropic,“ that is, of creations that despite having different aspects are united by the same substance: it concerns, in fact, beyond the black color, the inalienable need for form, space and balance in the work.”

Image: Perugino, Madonna and Child with Two Cherubs, detail (c. 1495; oil on panel, 34.4 x 50.5 cm; Perugia Foundation Collections)

Perugia announces exhibition that places Perugino in dialogue with Burri
Perugia announces exhibition that places Perugino in dialogue with Burri

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