3 major painting exhibitions are taking place in Italy this spring: Titian in Milan, Tintoretto in Rome, Brueghel in Como.
The exhibition in Milan’s Palazzo Reale, Tiziano e la nascita del paesaggio moderno, includes some paintings by Titian but also many by other artists, so one should not expect a “Titian exhibition”. This being said, several wonderful painters – and paintings – are on display: Lorenzo Lotto (Susanna and the elders), Giorgione (Moses, Allegory), Bonifacio Veronese (Holy family), Tintoretto (Narcissus), Giovanni Bellini (Crucifixion) and naturally Titian (The Adoration of the Shepherds, Tobias and the Angel…).
The Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome offer an extraordinary overview of Tintoretto’s work. Between the 2 extraordinary self-portraits (as a young man, as an old man), it is a continuous flow of masterpieces – as fantastic as last year’s Lotto exhibition was: from religious works (San Marco, San Giorgo, 2 versions of the Last Supper, Virgin & Child, Susanna and the elders…), through mythical scenes (Venus…) to numerous portraits (all more astonishing the ones than the others, you can feel the physical presence of the man or woman!), I left the place with my heart lifted and my eyes enchanted.
The lovely Villa Olmo in Como – my first visit in this town whose Cathedral façade would make the trip worthwhile alone – has on display a splendid exhibition of the Brueghel family: Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Peasant Bruegel), father of Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Hell Brueghel) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (Velvet Brueghel), himself father of Jan Brueghel the Younger. Are also part of the family the less famous Abraham Brueghel & Ambrosius Brueghel or even lesser known Philips and Jan Pieter – but they all surely knew how to paint! – and David Teniers the Younger who joined the family. Are also present Pieter Coecke van Aelst (also part of the family) and Hieronymus Bosch. If there are few works by Pieter the Elder, the exhibition is rich in various works from his 2 sons and Jan the Younger: landscapes, mythological scenes, allegories (seasons, senses…), religious scenes, and naturally still lifes and village scenes. An almost exhaustive panorama of what this incredible dynasty left us to feast our hearts and eyes, or sometimes to remember the cruelty and evil of the world.