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Cambiaso Gallery Guide

Cambiaso Gallery Guide

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ARTICULATE
 
EXHIBITION GUIDE
Luca Cambiaso
Moneglia (Genoa), 1527-Madrid, 1585,
Self-Portrait with Father 
, early 1570sOil on canvas, 104 x 97 cm, Musei di Strada Nuova - Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, on deposit from the Compagnia di San Paolo
 
ARTICULATE
Presenting sponsor:
Museums and churches in Genoa, where Cambiaso lived and workedexclusively until his last two years, are lending most of the paintings in the exhibition. With rare exceptions, the works have never before beendisplayed in the United States and few have been displayed outsideof Italy. Additional paintings and drawings come to Austin froman international roster of distinguished institutions, including the ArtInstitute of Chicago, the British Museum, the Louvre Museum, theMetropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library, the National Galleryof Art, and the Uf 
zi Gallery, among others. The Blanton has organized the exhibition in partnership with the Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, Italy,where it will travel following its Austin presentation.So who was Luca Cambiaso? A fundamental
gure in the history of Italian painting and drawing, he was born in 1527 in Moneglia, nearGenoa. “Genoa was a brilliant maritime power that in the mid-16thcentury was becoming one of the
nancial centers of Europe,”says Jonathan Bober, the Blanton’s curator of prints, drawings andEuropean paintings and one of the team of 
ve curators responsiblefor the exhibition.Cambiaso was such an original and proli
c artist, yet he’s stillrelatively unknown. Curator Bober gives three reasons for this.“His paintings are terribly rare outside Genoa. His success was sogreat that it led to innumerable replicas and copies, which havecompromised his reputation. Not least, however beautiful, his styleis extremely intellectual and, simply put, dif 
cult. The purposes of  the exhibition are to examine this particularly rich and complicatedcreative life, and to give Cambiaso his due within the history of Italian art.”While not a lot is known about Cambiaso’s personal life other than what his art can show, we do know that he received earlyart instruction from and collaborated with his father, Giovanni.Travel to Rome exposed him to the works of Michelangelo, among 
A monographic exhibition represents a metaphoric life, and demonstratesthe development of a creative mind.
The Blanton Museum of Art’s
LucaCambiaso, 1527–1585
, on view from September 19, 2006 through January 14,2007, is the
rst such exhibition of the artist’s work in half a century, and the
rst ever in the United States. The range of works featured (over 120) spans hisentire development, showing the in
uence of Raphael and Michelangelo in hisearly years, the highly sophisticated and stylized mature work, and the hints of early Baroque style in his later pieces.With seven paintings by Luca Cambiaso in its permanent collection, the Blantonowns more than half of the paintings by the artist in the United States.
Luca Cambiaso
Moneglia (Genoa), 1527–Madrid, 1585
Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene
, c. 1557-1559Oil on canvas, 124 x 117 cmMusei Civici di Strada Nuova, Palazzo Bianco, Genoa
 
ARTICULATE
Luca Cambiaso
Moneglia (Genoa), 1527–Madrid, 1585
Venus and Adonis
, c. 1564-1565Oil on canvas, 188 x 105 cmGalerie Canesso, Paris
others. With these works as inspiration, Cambiaso developed themost advanced style in Genoa and laid the foundation for the city’sdistinctive school of art. His painting was suited to both seculardecoration and religious imagery, and he counted all the wealthymerchant families of Genoa among his patrons. Better known thanhis paintings, his drawings were mass produced and mark thebeginning of widespread appreciation of the medium.Later in his career, partly in relation to the dictates of the Counter-Reformation, Cambiaso developed an extraordinarily abstractand systematic style. In his paintings this was often relieved bynaturalistic effects, such as nocturnal light, that anticipates theinterest of Caravaggio, Georges de La Tour, and other masters of  the early Baroque. The “cubic” style of his later drawings pre
guresforms of the early 20th century.
Cambiaso’s career
ourished in Genoa; however,near the end of his life, in 1583, he traveled toSpain at the behest of King Philip II to work onthe monumental frescoes in the Escorial, thepalatial monastery outside Madrid. There theartist died in 1585.
The exhibition begins with a section devoted to Cambiaso’sprecedents and precursors. This includes paintings and drawings bymajor artists of the preceding generation, like Raphael’s pupil Perindel Vaga, who worked in Genoa, and Domenico Beccafumi in Pisa,whose work Cambiaso surely saw. There are also drawings attributed to Cambiaso’s father and another Genoese artist, Nicolosio Granello,representing the most advanced local efforts around the beginning of Cambiaso’s activity.The artist’s early development is vividly illustrated by four successivevariations upon the subject of the Madonna and Child. A seriesof representations of the Madonna and Child reveals the artist’semerging control of composition and richness of paint handling.Cambiaso’s development from unbridled energy toward controlledvirtuosity is further revealed in a parallel series of drawings thatculminate in the Blanton’s own
Martyrdom of St. Sebastian
.The next section explores Cambiaso’s mature style, which corresponds to his proli
c activity for the major Genoese families. A series of altarpieces, including the
Nativity 
on panel from the church of SanFrancesco da Paola, the nocturnal
Nativity 
from the Pinacoteca atBologna, and the
Martyrdom of St. George
from that saint’s churchin Genoa—none previously seen outside Italy—provides a dramaticviewing experience. Forming another section, many of his
nestmythological works reveal a sensual, painterly style that was inpart a response to the art of Correggio and contemporary Venetianslike Veronese.
Luca Cambiaso
Moneglia (Genoa), 1527–Madrid, 1585
Marriage of the Virgin
, after 1567Pen and brown ink with brush and brown wash over traces of black chalk, squared in red chalk,95 x 295 mmThe British Museum, London

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