Garofalo’s painting: everything old is new again

On August, 8, the State Hermitage opened the exhibition Garofalo’s Pictures from San Bernardino Monastery in Ferrara. Its exposition includes only four pictures − monumental works by the outstanding Italian artist of the 16th century Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo (1481−1559).

The Marriage in Cana (1531), Allegory of the Old and New Testament (1530), Christ Carrying the Cross (St. Veronica, 1530s) and the Miracle with the Bread and Fishes (1530), created by the artist for the San Bernardino female monastery in Ferrara was purchased for the Hermitage collection in 1840. However they were not displayed for the decades. Only today the unique canvases are exhibited together.

The history of these works is interesting. In 1531 Garafolo experienced misfortune. He was blind on one eye. Hoping to keep his eye sight the artist vowed to God to continue working gratuitously on a series of canvases for San Bernardino monastery constructed in 1510 by Lucrezzia Borgia, the spouse of Duke Alfonso I d’Este. The master became blind anyhow but his canvases created by him decorated the refectory and the interior of the church of San Bernardino for a long time. The monastery existed till 1798 and was abolished after the intrusion of armies of Napoleon. But six years before in 1792 impoverished novices sold eight pictures to the Pope Pius VI. In 1840 his successor, Count Pius Braski decided to sell the collection of his uncle. Then four Garofalo’s canvases along with other works were redeemed by the emissaries of Nicolas I for the Hermitage collection.

It is important to say that the Hermitage has the similar practice of the organization of the exhibition of works by Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo. The previous exhibition took place on April 5, in the native artist’s town – Ferrare where the Hermitage – Italy scientific cultural center is made.

The exhibition is opened till September 28.

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Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 1:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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