Bode Museum Opens Renaissance Faces – Masterpieces of Italian Portraiture

The Bode Museum presents Renaissance Faces – Masterpieces of Italian Portraiture. Exhibition open from 25 August 2011 to 20 November 2011.

The Gemäldegalerie—National Museums in Berlin and the Metropolitan Mu- seum of Art, New York, have joined forces in organizing a major exhibition on the genesis of the Italian portrait. For Berlin, the Bode Museum presents itself as the ideal location to hold such an exhibition: on its opening in 1904, it was conceived by its founder, Wilhelm von Bode, as a ‘Renaissance Mu- seum’ on the Museum Island. The Bode Museum will host the first stage of the exhibition, running from 25 August to 20 November 2011, before it sub- sequently goes on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, from 19 December 2011 to 18 March 2012.

More than 150 key works, including paintings, drawings, medals and busts, are about to go on display for the first time together. The more than 50 lenders include the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London. Among the exhibition’s many highlights is Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Lady with an Ermine’ from the Czartoryski Collection, Cracow.

The exhibition highlights depictions of the appearance and personality of real people. Portraits of feminine beauty vie with portraits of generals, princes and humanists, offering us a fascinating insight into the age of the early Renais- sance.

At the heart of the exhibition stands the Italian Renaissance portrait. The Ital- ian art of portraiture evolved under the influence of antique models. However, it was equally shaped by the innovations of the great Netherlandish painters. The history of the art of portraiture, from Pisanello up to Verrocchio, Botticelli, Bellini and Leonardo, is retold in a selection of magnificent and sensational key works, including paintings, sculptures, medals and drawings. The exhibi- tion focuses both on the art produced at the Italian courts, as well as the de- velopment of the portrait in Florence and Venice.

A unique architectural and lighting concept, especially designed for the exhi- bition, takes into account the individual qualities of each exhibit in its presen- tation. Of crucial importance here is the aesthetic experience, both of the quality of the artworks and of the materials used in creating them.

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