The Fondazione Sicilia houses at Villa Zito an exhibition curated by Maria Cristina Bandera, the scientific director of the Fondazione Longhi, focusing on the painters active in central and southern Italy in the early 1700s and in particular on the many artists whom we call ‘caravaggisti’. Most of the works on display, some of which have been restored for this exhibition, come from the ‘Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi’, which manages the inheritance of the most prominent art historian in Italy and an extraordinary collector.
In his manor in Florence – Villa ‘Il Tasso’-, where the Foundation bearing his name is currently headquartered, Longhi collected a considerable body of works of art by masters of all artistic periods, which became for him an opportunity for further research and study work. The core of his collection includes works by Caravaggisti painters, besides Caravaggio’s ‘Boy Bitten by a Lizard,’ which he purchased in 1928 and is internationally acknowledged (it was also displayed at the important exhibition Dentro Caravaggio organised at the Royal Palace in Milan). Longhi took inspiration from the subject of this canvas for a remarkable charcoal carrying his original signature and date, 1930. The drawing will be on display in the introductory section of the exhibit, which features more than thirty paintings by Caravaggio’s followers and other artists who were active in southern Italy. They provide meaningful examples of the trends and objectives Merisi’s works sparked and enhanced and also of the historical meaning of his painting.
The exhibition’s catalogue has been printed by Marsilio Editori and features all the works on display with brief texts gathering all information about them and short biographies of the artists. An educational project will be purposely drafted to address schools and families by providing animated visits and workshops.
Date: 17 February to 10 June 2018 (extended to 24 June 2018)