Jan Brueghel il Vecchio ‘Dei Velluti’ (1568-1625)
oil on coppel
65 × 45 cm
Guided visit |
90 MINUTI CIRCA |
NATURE AND LANDSCAPE: FROM LEONARDO TO THE 20th CENTURY
Through the rich collection in the Ambrosiana, our visit will retrace the whole development of nature painting through the centuries. We see how it progressively loses its allegorical-symbolic values in the effort to represent reality and, later, as a field for pictorial-scientific experiments.
Already as part of the original core collection of the Ambrosiana Gallery, comprising the collection that Federico Borromeo endowed it with in 1618, an important place was devoted to paintings of natural subjects, mainly divided into landscapes and still lifes. These are significant for both the quantity and quality of the works.
Especially remarkable are the paintings by the Flemish artists Jan Brueghel and Paul Bril, whom the Cardinal knew well during his stays in Rome, and Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit. Federico Borromeo sought in vain for a companion piece that would be worthy of it.
The cardinal greatly admired Flemish still lifes and landscapes for the meticulous care they lavished on details, often in works of small dimensions. He described them in his famous “Musaeum”, seeing them as an allegory of God’s creative power. These works are still a feature of the Ambrosiana’s collections, and over the years it has acquired further works of this kind.
The guided tour leads the visitor on a journey into nature painting, from the airy landscape backgrounds by Marco d’Oggiono and the original, ragged landscapes by Bramantino, to the masterpiece by Caravaggio and the Flemish paintings of the 17th century, where landscapes and still lifes are affirmed as independent pictorial genres, until the bucolic 18th-century scenes by Francesco Londonio, the 19th-century works by Massimo D’Azeglio and Mosè Bianchi, and the Divisionist works of Gaetano Previati.
For Spring 2020 the Class of Latin and Greek studies organizes a cycle of three conferences entitled Intorno a un Codice. In each lecture, a scholar will present a particularly valuable Ambrosian codex, illustrating its features.