Curated by: Guillaume Kientz
The one between Velázquez and Ceruti is a closeness of purpose that takes shape, a century later, under the aegis of reality in a dialogue made up of themes, composition, inspiration, light. On display is the exceptional loan, hitherto never exhibited in Italy, of Il cena by Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) from Ermitage in an important comparison with works by Giacomo Ceruti known as il Pitocchetto (1698-1767).
A comparison underlined by the rearrangement of the Sala del Ceruti (XII) of Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, the museum that possesses the most important corpus in the world of works by the Milanese-born and adopted Brescian author. Velázquez's Luncheon (around 1617) is in fact exhibited alongside some masterpieces of Ceruti's pauperist production, whose artistic and cultural presupposition is to be recognized in the seventeenth-century European naturalism, which in Velázquez had one of its greatest protagonists. Among the works, there are also some paintings from the Padernello cycle such as Portrait of two girls (1720-25), Shoemakers (1725- 30) and Two poor people in a wood (1730-35).
The project, entitled Velázquez per Ceruti, is entrusted to Guillaume Kientz, director of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library in New York, formerly responsible for the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American art and sculpture collections at the Louvre Museum in Paris, and curator, in 2015, of the great retrospective on Diego Velázquez at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Velázquez's Lunch, part of Catherine the Great's collection, was returned to the Spanish master in 1895, after an initial attribution to an anonymous Flemish school. It is generally considered to be one of the master's earliest works, performed after the composition of the Three Musicians (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie) but before the Old Woman Frying the Eggs (Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland), dated 1618. The painting represents a typical tavern scene , in which three men of different ages share a meager meal around a table, expressing a grotesque attitude.