By: Amy Fredrickson
The Bargello is currently hosting an exhibition entitled “From Brooklyn to the Bargello: Giovanni della Robbia, the Antinori lunette and Stefano Arienti.” The show features Giovanni della Robbia’s monumental lunette Resurrection, which will be on view until April 8, 2018.
The massive lunette (174.6 x 364.5 x 33 cm) left Florence 119 years ago and is on loan from the Brooklyn Museum. In 1898, Brooklyn collector and businessman Aaron Augustus Healy (1850-1921) purchased and donated Resurrection to the museum.
Giovanni della Robbia (Florence 1469-1529) was the son of Andrea, and together they continued his grandfather Luca della Robbia’s workshop.
Resurrection depicts the risen Christ with patron Niccolò di Tommaso Antinori (1454-1520) kneeling on his right with soldiers around the tomb. Fruit, flowers, and small animals adorn the background.
An exciting aspect of the exhibition is the conservation effort to restore Resurrection. In only ten months, conservators examined, disassembled, cleaned, retouched the paint, reassembled, and remounted the forty-six pieces of Resurrection. almost 500 years later, the same family supported the lunette’s restoration. The Antinori Art Project is supported by the Antinori family, descendants of the patron Niccolò di Tommasi Antinori.
Also on loan from the Brooklyn Museum is John Singer Sargent’s (1856 – 1925) Portrait of Aaron Augustus Healy (1907) . Sargent was born to American parents in Florence and painted for affluent patrons in Europe and the United States.
The exhibition also provides an innovative dialogue between the Renaissance and contemporary art through the placement of the lunette next to contemporary artist Stefano arienti’s Scena Fissa (2017), which was directly inspired by Della Robbia’s work.
Giovanni della Robbia, The Resurrection of Christ, ca. 1500-1520, Glazed Terracotta, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York.
John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Aaron Augustus Healy, 1907, Oil on canvas, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York.