ADORATION OF PASTORES OF PERUGINO From 20 October 2017 to 28 January 2018MILANDiocesan Museum
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It will be the Adoration of the Shepherds of Perugino the Masterpiece for Milan 2017.
The painting, a large board (263x147 cm), from the Umbria National Gallery in Perugia, will be hosted from October 20, 2017 to January 28, 2018 at the Diocesan Museum Carlo Maria Martini in Milan.
The initiative is curated by Nadia Righi, director of the Diocesan Museum in Milan and Marco Pierini, director of the National Gallery of Umbria, with the patronage of the Archdiocese of Milan, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Lombardy Region, the Umbria Region, of the Municipality of Milan, of the Municipality of Perugia, with the contribution of Ubi Banca; special partner Trenord.
The work is the undisputed masterpiece of the maturity of Pietro Vannucci, called Perugino (Città della Pieve, Perugia 1448/50 - Fontignano, Perugia, 1523) and is part of a polyptych executed for the church of St. Augustine in Perugia on commission of the Augustinian Friars in 1502.
His complex execution required more than twenty years and, at the painter's death, still lacked some finishing touches. It was a great altarpiece, several compartments and several registers, which was to be over eight feet tall and which was made up of over thirty tables.
Already in 1654 the imposing structure, little consonant with the new liturgical provisions of the counter-reformation, was dismantled and divided into two parts. From that moment, unfortunately, the boards dispersed. Many of them are now in France because of the requisitions made by Napoleonic troops in 1797 in the United States, such as the San Bartolomeo in Birmingham, Alabama, or just in Perugia, in the Benedictine Church of St. Peter, where finds the Christ supported by Nicodemus between the Blessed Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist.
In addition to the Adoration of Shepherds, the remaining compartments with the blessed Eternal, Prophets Daniel and David, Archangel Gabriel, Baptism of Christ, Saints Gerolamo and Mary Magdalene, and twelve compartments of the predella remained in the National Picture Gallery of Umbria.
There have been many attempts to redefine the original layout of the great polyptych.
The layout project, curated by Arch. Alessandro Colombo of Studio Cerri & Associati, will try to suggest the architectural space to which the work was intended and to recall the great polyptych of which it was part.
Perugino returned to Perugia at the threshold of the sixteenth century, commissioned, after successful achievements throughout Italy, to decorate the walls of the Collegio del Cambio, the fresco cycle that qualified him as the greatest exponent of an artistic reality able to compete with what happened to Florence.
It is years when, after the entrance of the young Raffaello to his Florentine shop, Perugino takes over the fifteenth-century schemes already used in the past, but often, even through the influx of the gifted pupil, infuses into them new inventiveness and great refinement, without ever giving up a lyric simple, pure and commotion.
The formal purity, the clear and elegant design, the balanced composition and the sweetness of his figures are elements present in his works to his maturity, as is also apparent in the Appearance of the Shepherds, in which Perugino resumes the scheme already tried in the fresco of the Collegio del Cambio of Perugia.
To the left of the table, we notice the announcement of the angels to the shepherds, who also appear in the center, in adoration. To the right the ox and the donkey. In the center, between two angels, the dove of the Holy Spirit appears and, in the foreground, Mary and Joseph worship the Child, leaning on the ground and protected only by a flap of the mantle of the Virgin. Instead of the classical loggia here comes a simple hut.
The landscape background is made to the essence and the figures, on which the artist's entire attention is focused, stand on a prospective floor.
The style of Perugino marks the beginning of a new way of painting that, right from Raffaello, the most important of his students, will mark the birth of modern fashion.