The Gallerie d’Italia – Piazza Scala, the Intesa Sanpaolo museum headquarters in Milan is presenting L’ultimo Caravaggio. Eredi e nuovi maestri. Napoli, Genova e Milano a confronto (1610-1640) (The Last Caravaggio. Heirs and new masters), an exhibition which will be open to the public until 8th April 2018. It is curated by Alessandro Morandotti with overall coordination by Gianfranco Brunelli and the patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism and the Municipality of Milan as well as partnership with the Genoa Strada Nuova Museums and collaboration with the University of Turin.
The exhibition aims to investigate the artistic events that developed following Merisi’s death in the cities of Naples, Genoa and Milan in a historical-artistic period divided between the revolution devoted to Caravaggio’s realism and the colourful and festive new Baroque age. The Martirio di Sant’Orsola [Martyrdom of St. Ursula]1610) by Caravaggio, the master’s last masterpiece, is the central pivot around which a series of comparisons with other artists of the time revolve.
In seven different sections the exhibition illustrates a seventeenth century in which the artistic developments were divided between those who followed in the master’s steps and those who instead embarked on new ventures. The contributions of the two Doria brothers, the bankers and great patrons Marcantonio and Giovan Carlo, are fundamental. In this context we find Naples on one side, rich in “Caravaggismo” and classical echoes, Marcantonio’s favourite square and works by Battistello Caracciolo and José de Ribera among others; on the other side are Milan and Genoa where Giovan Carlo turns to the paintings considered “avant-garde” for the time, buying works by Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Pieter Paul Rubens, Bernardo Strozzi, Simon Vouet and many other contemporary Italian and European masters.
Among the more than fifty works on display, the monumental 40 square metre Ultima Cena (Last Supper) by Procaccini stands out, presented after long and extensive restoration work carried out at the La Venaria Reale Conservation and Restoration Centre (To). For the duration of the exhibition the twenty metre high work can be admired at first hand before it returns to its original location, the Church of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato in Genoa.
To mark the occasion of the exhibition, from 19th December 2017 to 18th March 2018 a monographic focus by Omar Galliani will be presented at the Gallerie d’Italia dedicated to Caravaggio and centered on the Martirio di Sant’Orsola with a work specifically created for Gallerie d’Italia entitled “Rosso Cadmio per Caravaggio”.