closed Investigations around Giovanni Serodine

The show

The Estensi Galleries host from 25 March to 26 June 2022 an exhibition dossier that sees at the center one of the most enigmatic paintings of the seventeenth century in its collections: the Holy Writer, which for the past century has entered the catalog of Giovanni Serodine (Rome, 1600- 1630), one of the greatest and most original followers of Caravaggio. A fragmentary and partly compromised painting, which returns to the public after a long restoration work supported by in-depth diagnostic investigations. For the first time in its history, it will be exhibited at the Galleria Estense in Modena next to its ancient copy, which reproduces its original appearance, coming from the Certosa di Pavia Museum. This copy is accompanied by two other works of identical format attributed to another Caravaggesque painter, Giuseppe Vermiglio (Milan, c. 1587 - Turin ?, post 1635). They depict St. Paul the Hermit and St. John the Baptist, and are what remains of a cycle of "six cross paintings representing hermits in the desert" still registered at the Foresteria Nobile della Certosa in the inventories of the late eighteenth century.

The project was born from a precise idea: to tackle the study of a work altered by heavy interventions since ancient times through the technical tools of diagnostics and restoration, but also with the historical-artistic ones offered by the context of the Certosa paintings, so far little known and never investigated. In this case the challenge was motivated above all by the name of Giovanni Serodine, whose Saint writer is one of the very rare works belonging to an Italian state museum. Although in fact he is not one of the most well-known artists to the general public, he is an absolute champion in the panorama, already dizzying in itself, of painters active in Rome in the second and third decade of the seventeenth century and heirs in various ways of the dazzling season of Caravaggio.

Serodine was the son of that centuries-old and fruitful tradition of painters, sculptors and architects who came from Italian Switzerland to work in Rome. Died very young and only touched by contemporary documents and artistic biographies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, he was restored to his exceptional stature by the greatest Italian art historian of the twentieth century, Roberto Longhi. An artist intimately linked to naturalism of Caravaggesque origin, from which he developed a personal and dramatic language entrusted to color spread by touch and stain, whose quality contemporaries recognized but which they blamed for the unbridled unconventionality. And this was among the reasons that decreed his critical misfortune, at a time when official painting was much more attentive to the "decor" with which the subjects were depicted, and to the "design" with which they were studied for a long time before be painted.


Timetable and tickets


Largo Porta Sant'Agostino, 337
41121 Modena


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