Curated by Antonio Mazzotta and Claudio Salsi in collaboration with Agostino Allegri e Giovanna Mori
The Vesperbild exhibition is housed in the rooms of the Old Spanish Hospital of the Sforza Castle in Milan. At the origins of the Pietà by Michelangelo it is proposed to illustrate the Italian fortune of the Vesperbild theme (image of vespers), which in Italy takes the name of Pietà.
The exhibition traces the different articulations and degrees of the development of this iconography starting from the first Nordic examples up to the classical interpretation provided by Michelangelo in the Vatican age (which will be present on display) and intended to condition the perception of the theme in centuries to come.
The presence of Michelangelo's Pietà Rondanini in the museum dedicated to her, adjacent to the exhibition, emphasizes the theme of "return to the origins": with this work we witness the master's will to return, at the end of his life, to the expressiveness of oldest forms of Vesperbild. At the origins of Michelangelo's Pietà.
The exhibition features a collection of twenty-four works of art, including sculptures, paintings, drawings, engravings and miniatures, from important international institutions, such as the Musée du Louvre, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Frankfurt Liebieghaus on Less; as well as important Italian and Milanese institutions such as the Biblioteca Trivulziana and the Poldi Pezzoli Museum.
There are works by great Italian artists such as Cosmé Tura, Francesco del Cossa, Ercole de 'Roberti, Giovanni Bellini, Perugino and, for the first time, the Pietà by Vittore Carpaccio, now in a private collection, is on public display.
The exhibition, designed by Andrea Perin, is divided into three sections and aims to tell the story of Vesperbild through almost two centuries, from the wooden sculptures of the Reno valley at the beginning of the fourteenth century to the Vatican Pietà by Michelangelo (1497-1499): an interpretation of Vesperbild able to mark in a decisive way the future declinations of the iconographic theme, to which posterity will refer in an absolute way, in the characters and in the features.