Moroni at the RA

Giovanni Battista Moroni (c.1520-1579), The Sackler Wing, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1, until 25th January 2015

Giovanni Battista Moroni Gian Girolamo Albani, c.1570 Oil on canvas, 107 x 75 cm Private Collection Photo: Private collection

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Gian Girolamo Albani, c.1570
Oil on canvas, 107 x 75 cm
Private Collection
Photo: Private collection

This is the first UK exhibition devoted to this talented 16th century Italian painter and while one can ask “why?” one acknowledges that it was certainly worth the wait. His portraits have a realness that underlines the character, appearance and almost the soul of the sitter. It would not surprise me greatly if one of his subjects started talking to me because they give that sense of engagement and realism.

Giovanni Battista Moroni Young Lady, c.1560-65 Oil on canvas, 51 x 42 cm Private collection Photo: Private collection

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Young Lady, c.1560-65
Oil on canvas, 51 x 42 cm
Private collection
Photo: Private collection

While usually associated with the city of Bergamo, which was part of the Venetian Republic, he is also known to have worked in Brescia, Albino and Trent which are close by. It is most likely as there was no ducal or noble court in Bergamo this meant that many of Moroni’s subjects are drawn from the professional and intellectual classes as well as artisans. His very well-known portrait of The Tailor is the first known portrait of a man depicted doing manual labour.

Giovanni Battista Moroni The Tailor, c. 1570 Oil on canvas, 99.5 x 77 cm The National Gallery, London Photo c. The National Gallery, London

Giovanni Battista Moroni
The Tailor, c. 1570
Oil on canvas, 99.5 x 77 cm
The National Gallery, London
Photo c. The National Gallery, London

He was also a painter of religious subjects which reflect the principles of the Counter-Reformation and he produced works for both public devotion in churches as well as for more private devotion. All in all this really is an eye-opening and rewarding experience.

Giovanni Battista Moroni A Gentleman in Adoration before the Baptism of Christ, c.1555-60 Oil on canvas, 112.8 x 104 cm Gerolamo and Roberta Etro Photo: Gerolamo and Roberta Etro

Giovanni Battista Moroni
A Gentleman in Adoration before the Baptism of Christ, c.1555-60
Oil on canvas, 112.8 x 104 cm
Gerolamo and Roberta Etro
Photo: Gerolamo and Roberta Etro

royalacademy.org.uk

Giovanni Battista Moroni Gian Gerolamo Grumelli, c. 1560 Oil on canvas, 216 x 123 cm Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photo Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photography: Marco Mazzoleni.

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Gian Gerolamo Grumelli, c. 1560
Oil on canvas, 216 x 123 cm
Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni – Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo.
Photo Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni – Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photography: Marco Mazzoleni.

Giovanni Battista Moroni Isotta Brembati, c.1555 Oil on canvas, 160 x 115 cm Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photo Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photography: Marco Mazzoleni.

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Isotta Brembati, c.1555
Oil on canvas, 160 x 115 cm
Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni – Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo.
Photo Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni – Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photography: Marco Mazzoleni.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s