Art and Love in Renaissance Italy

The exhibition ‘Art and Love in Renaissance Italy’ in the Metropolitan Museum in New York explores the various exceptional objects created to celebrate love and marriage in the Italian Renaissance. The approximately 150 objects, which date from about 1400 to the mid-16th century, range from exquisite examples of maiolica and jewelry given as gifts to the couple, to marriage portraits and paintings that extol sensual love and fecundity, such as the Metropolitan’s Venus and Cupid by the great Venetian artist Lorenzo Lotto. The exhibition also includes some of the rarest and most significant pieces of Renaissance glassware, cassone panels, birth trays, and drawings and prints of amorous subjects. Love, marriage and birth were subject of numerous paintings, glass works and other artefacts. The upper class spent large amounts of money to celebrate these happy events in public. The Latin lover still had to be born however, though erotic publications like I Modi, published in 1524, were very popular. Marriage and birth were political and dynastical events and romance or love were of minor importance. The paintings and other expressions of the wedding ceremonies contained symbolic and political meanings, well understood by contemporaries. Italian lovers became famous accross Europe, but for those concerned reality was often more complex.