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The renaissance of painting on stone

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From 20 February to fifteen May 2022, the Saint Louis Art Museum presents “Paintings on Stone: Science and the Sacred 1530-1800“, an exhibition analyzing the renaissance of portray on stone within the early sixteenth century.

Images: Cavaliere D’Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari, 1568-1640); “Perseus Rescuing Andromeda”, c.1593-94; oil on lapis lazuli; Saint Louis Art Museum ·· Alessandro Turchi, (1578-1649); “Saint Peter and an Angel Appearing to Saint Agatha in Prison”, c.1640-1645; oil on slate; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

One of the various technical contributions of the Renaissance to the art world was the popularisation of portray on canvas, which steadily displaced portray on panel, a observe virtually hegemonic in the course of the Gothic and early Renaissance. However, at first of the sixteenth century, beneath the management of the Venetian painter Sebastiano del Piombo (1485-1547), one other various to panel portray appeared, a lot much less common and due to this fact much less identified and studied: portray on stone surfaces.

Of course, to say that portray on stone was a Renaissance innovation is -taken literally- a historic aberration, for the reason that first work created by people had been painted on stone in the course of the Palaeolithic interval, a observe that may be continued all through antiquity by virtually all the nice identified civilisations. However, the nice Renaissance innovation within the revival of portray on stone was the consciousness of the worth that the materiality of stone may give to the work of art. This led to the usage of stones which, removed from being a “neutral” background for the portray, gave the work of art its personal persona. Perseus rescuing Andromeda, a piece by Cavaliere D’Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari) painted on lapis lazuli, is nice proof of this.

It was exactly the acquisition of this portray by Cavaliere D’Arpino that led Judith Mann, curator on the Saint Louis Art Museum, to provoke what the museum defines as “the primary systematic examination of the pan-European observe of this uncommon and little-studied side of Renaissance and baroque art“. The museum lately acquired Lamentation by Candlelight, a stone portray by Jacopo Bassano, which -after having been restored within the museum’s laboratories- is being offered for the primary time on the event of this exhibition, which, within the phrases of Judith Mann, “testifies to the boundless creativity artists delivered to the usage of stone as a portray assist“.

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