Pompeo Batoni and the 18th century in Milan: fifth dialogue opens at Brera

The Milanese museum's fifth dialogue opens at the Pinacoteca di Brera: Around the Eighteenth Century. Pompeo Batoni and Milan. June 8 through Oct. 1.

It will start next June 8 and will last until October 1, the fifth appointment with the successful series of the Dialogues of the Pinacoteca di Brera, the exhibitions that the museum, under the direction of James Bradburne, is organizing on the occasion of the refurbishment of the rooms. This time the protagonist will be Pompeo Batoni (Lucca, 1708 - Rome, 1787), one of the greatest European artists of the eighteenth century, and the exhibition will be entitled Around the Eighteenth Century. Pompeo Batoni and Milan. In keeping with the tradition of the “Dialogues,” the protagonist will be a work, in this case the Madonna and Child with Saints Joseph and Zachariah, Elizabeth and John (1738-1740), from the destroyed church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, and it will be compared with other works, owned by both the Milanese museum and other institutions. The aim of the fifth dialogue will be to probe the relationship between Pompeo Batoni and the city of Milan.

In fact, the exhibition will display only paintings made by Pompeo Batoni: there will be Il beato Tolomei che assiste le vittime della peste, which comes from the church of San Vittore al Corpo in Milan, there will be a sketch for this painting that comes from the Palazzo Borromeo in Isola Bella, and finally there will be two drawings by Batoni, a Nudo seduto di profilo and a Nudo seduto con gamba accavallata that come from the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe dell’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. The presence of these folios is quite important because at the time when the Brera Academy was founded (it was founded in 1776), Batoni was one of the artists most in vogue and most held in esteem by those approaching the profession of artist. Around the works there will then be an art-historical itinerary in the art of the 18th century with paintings from the Braidense collection: works by Pierre Subleyras, Giuseppe Bottani, Giambattista Tiepolo, Francesco Solimena, and Luca Giordano will contextualize the works of Pompeo Batoni.

This is a dialogue of great importance. In fact, we read in the presentation, “The fifth Dialogue of the Pinacoteca di Brera is relevant to the very history of the Pinacoteca, a modern museum, the result of the 18th century, the century of Enlightenment and the French Revolution. In fact, the palace that houses it was transformed first at the behest of Maria Theresa of Habsburg - to whom the Maria Theresa Room in the Braidense Library is dedicated - and then by Napoleon, who wanted its public opening in 1809.”

The exhibition, which will be held in Room 34 of the Brera Art Gallery, is curated by Isabella Marelli and Alessandro Morandotti. For the opening day, June 8, there will be free admission from 8:30 am to 7:15 pm. Thereafter, the dialogue will be open to visitors with a ticket to the Pinacoteca di Brera.

Image: Pompeo Batoni, Madonna and Child with Saints Joseph and Zachary, Elizabeth and John (1738-1740; oil on canvas; 403 × 228 cm; Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera)

Pompeo Batoni and the 18th century in Milan: fifth dialogue opens at Brera
Pompeo Batoni and the 18th century in Milan: fifth dialogue opens at Brera

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