Opening 1 May – SEICENTO FIORENTINO: Sacred and Profane Allegories at Moretti Fine Art, New York


SEICENTO FIORENTINO: Sacred and Profane Allegories

Moretti Fine Art will stage their fifth exhibition of Italian Old Masters, SEICENTO FIORENTINO: Sacred and Profane Allegories at the New York gallery at 24 East 80th Street from 1 to 25 May 2012The Seicento, or the 17th century, refers to Italian cultural and social history during this tumultuous period, characterised by several wars, conflicts and invasions as well as the patronage of the arts and architecture.  It was also the period which saw the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Counter Reformation and the Baroque era together with advancements in Italian science, philosophy and technology.


One of the highlights of the exhibition, Susanna at the Bath with Maids by Ottavio Vannini (1585-1644), is a glorious example of the work of this iconic Florentine artist.  Born in Florence, he trained in Rome under Anastasio Fuontebuoni and in Florence under Domenico Passignani.  This picture presents Susanna at a well, bathing with the help of her handmaidens while the two elders in the background are plotting to falsely accuse her of adultery.  The large marble fountain is reminiscent of the Ferrucci fountain at Palazzo Pitti. (price $475,000)  This date of the painting corresponds to the artist’s return to Florence for the execution of the fresco at the Villa of the Imperial Hill (Villa del Poggio Imperiale) and that of his well-known work Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, c.1626-27, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.


Madonna and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist by Lorenzo Lippi (Florence, 1606-1656) portrays the Virgin seated with the Christ Child on her lap, reaching out to the cross held by the infant St John.  Lippi trained in the early 1620s in the workshop of Matteo Rosselli.  As Rosselli’s most faithful pupil, he assisted the master for over a decade, imitating his vividly pictorial style until the 1640s when he sought inspiration elsewhere.  This work, dating from the early 1630s, demonstrates Lippi’s clear preference for religious themes in the early part of his career.  The narrative character of the scene and the soft rendering of the draperies reflect the style of his teacher while showing his pictorial grasp of reality and naturalism.  The sacredness of the iconography, expressed by the large haloes over the heads of the Madonna and St John, does not prevent the painter from emphasising the group’s affectionate and human character.  Lippi’s reputation is undoubtedly destined to grow.  Documents confirm that, by around 1655, Lippi was considered among the greatest of living Florentine painters and yet with the passing years his star has rather waned.  However, paintings attributed to him that have recently come to light only serve to underline his talent.  (price $220,000)


The exhibition will be curated by Francesca Baldassari, an independent scholar in Florence, who has achieved international recognition for her expertise on Florentine painting of the 17th and 18th centuries.  She is the author of monographs on Tuscan artists of the period, Carlo Dolci, Cristoforo Munari, Giovanni Domenico Ferretti and Simone Pignoni as well as two important books on the period, in both English and Italian, La collezione Piero ed Elena Bigongiari. Il Seicento fiorentino tra favola e dramma and La Pittura del Seicento a Firenze. Indice degli artisti e delle loro opera.  In addition she has contributed significant studies to artists working outside the Florentine Seicento and Settecento such as the Emilian artist Guercino and Amedeo Laini and Giacinto Gimignani, both from Pistoia.  Seicento Fiorentino will be the fourth exhibition Dr Baldassari has curated for the Moretti Gallery, having previously curated exhibitions staged in the gallery in Florence.



Fabrizio Moretti opened his gallery in Florence on 26 September 1999 with the inaugural exhibition From Bernardo Daddi to Giorgio Vasari and soon established a respected reputation in the field of Italian Old Masters.  The gallery works closely with the most notable scholars and public institutions and is known for its dedication to research and for handling works of the highest quality as well as for making this particular area more accessible to private collectors.  In 2005 Moretti opened a gallery in London where they take part in the annual Master Paintings Week as well as being regular exhibitors at TEFAF Maastricht and the Biennale Internazione dell’Antiquariato di Firenze.  In 2007 Moretti opened a gallery in New York in collaboration with Adam Williams Fine Art.  Just steps from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this Upper East Side gallery offers a glorious space in which to present the finest of Italian Old Masters.  In December 2011, Moretti Fine Art Ltd. moved its London headquarters from New Bond Street to Ryder Street in central St James’s. 


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