The "Riposo" is a masterpiece of extraordinary beauty and exceptional communicative immediacy by the young Caravaggio, datable to 1597. The composition is divided in an absolutely original way by the figure of the beautiful angel from behind with large black swallow wings, playing the violin. On the right, surrounded by luxuriant vegetation, is the Madonna asleep with the Child in her arms. Both are portrayed in an idealized way and the beauty of their features contrasts with the naturalistic rendering of Saint Joseph, who, although overwhelmed by fatigue, is enraptured by the angel's apparition and lends himself to support the score. The notes on the score follow a motet written in 1519 by the Flemish composer Noel Bauldwijn on a text taken from the Song of Songs and dedicated to the Virgin.
The magnificent work dates back to the early seventeenth century and the theme is one of the most replicated by Caravaggio. The young saint is portrayed fraternally embracing a ram, perhaps representing the sacrifice of Christ, seated on a red tunic and camel skin, symbols of the Savior and of the Baptist himself. At the foot of the figure is represented the beardless yew, whose medicinal virtues have been known since ancient times. Finally, the relationship of the work with Michelangelo's nudes of the Sistine Chapel, of which Caravaggio was an admirer, has been underlined for some time.
Portrayed in an unadorned setting and sitting on a low chair, as if crushed by the shot from above, with a single ray of light that cuts across the canvas, a girl with a pale complexion and long auburn hair, her hands gently resting on her lap and her face turned down, she cries in agony and a single clear tear slips from her half-closed right eye. The painting dates back to Caravaggio's first Roman activity (1597) and depicts the Sinner who has just renounced her past worldly life, abandoning a string of pearls and jewels on the ground together with the jar of ointment, her characteristic attribute.
In this early masterpiece by Titian, dated to 1515, the scene is tinged with refined and sensual lyricisms and represents Salome accompanied by the handmaid who supports the tray on which the Baptist's head rests, in which a self-portrait of the author has been recognized. .
It is the most important piece of the collection and by far the masterpiece of 17th century portraiture. It depicts Giovanni Battista Pamphilj, pope from 1644 to 1655, with realism and without hiding the roughness of his features. Velázquez, painter of the Spanish court, probably painted it between the end of 1649 and January 1650 and the painting pleased Innocent X and his contemporaries, as evidenced by many ancient copies of the masterpiece, whose remarkable expressive power has impressed artists of all. times.
This is the "Casta Susanna with the two old men" on a panel by Annibale Carracci, painted in 1604 and described by Bellori (1672). The high quality of Carracci's painting, executed on a smooth surface, and the refined iconography influenced contemporaries.
The scene, with the fine gold workmanship and the accentuation of the linear values of the design and the elegant outline, shows the precise moment in which the Virgin meets the Angel Gabriel. The Angel has a hand on his chest as a sign of greeting, while in the sky you can see the hands of God that bring down the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit. The panel, in excellent conservation conditions, is certainly an autograph of the Florentine master made between 1445 and 1450.
The papal portrait was painted by the master shortly before the great Jubilee of 1650. Despite the vaguely heroic tone with which the pontiff's physiognomy is captured, Bernini does not renounce vivacity and expressiveness, even in the idealization of the depicted character. The mastery of the technique of the great sculptor is evident in the fold of the mozzetta and in the movement of the buttons, which lighten the immobility of the bust.
The sacred episode is relegated to the background, as in many Flemish and Dutch works of the time, with the tiny figurines of Adam and Eve portrayed in the moment of temptation, while the animal encyclopedia of Eden dominates the scene, admirably represented. The execution, signed and dated 1612, is very fine and was certainly carried out with the help of magnifying glasses: the infinite details are in fact perfectly described, taking to the extreme the possibilities offered by the smooth copper surface.
The panel bears the signature, the name of the portrait subject and the date of 1529. Of excellent executive quality, it is one of the best known works of the great Dutch artist, who was among the first to travel to Italy. Back in Utrecht, he lived with the young woman with the barely hinted smile. It is a rare example of an actual portrait of an artist woman and for this reason it has had a wide echo in specialized literature.
Memling was a superb portrait painter, absolute protagonist of the Flemish Renaissance, and this very fine "Compianto" belongs to his maturity. On the right the donor is kneeling, a character not identified to date, who had to commission the painting. Variously dated in the eighth / ninth decade of the fifteenth century, the work on oak wood is very well preserved.
Painted in Rome between 1604 and 1613 for Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, it is the leading element of the so-called "Lunette Aldobrandini", thanks to which the landscape genre in painting was established. In fact, it was a novelty that sacred themes were placed on natural backgrounds to decorate a chapel and for this reason the work was an example and inspiration for generations of painters.
The superb painting, which dates back to 1604, was purchased in Paris by Camillo Pamphilj in 1654. It portrays with vivid colors and the meticulous description of the many details and micro scenes of the Madonna sitting in a landscape, full of flowers and animals, and on her lap. the Child, who has flowers in his hands; further back St. Joseph with the stick and bucolic scenes.
The panel, datable to the early seventeenth century, depicts a Flemish village in winter wrapped in a foggy and yellowish atmosphere. The view is lost far away to a distant village, barely visible, shrouded in mist. There is described a glimpse of daily life with the inhabitants portrayed in the center while they are having fun skating on the frozen river. On the right, in the middle of a clearing, a bird trap is set up, perhaps with moralizing intent.
This famous bust portrays the determined and ambitious sister-in-law of Pope Innocent X Pamphilj and was certainly completed by 1650. The portrait is one of the highest examples of Roman sculpture of the mid-seventeenth century. Of extraordinary physiognomic rendering, the face shows the imposing cheekbones and the resolute chin of the powerful noblewoman, while the apex of formal virtuosity is reached in the rendering of the thin widow's veil that swells with air behind the head.
Other works on display
Exhibited in Permanent Collection
Davide Mancini Zanchi