This section contains an overview of the most relevant exhibitions. Each item is connected to the organizing museum.

The First Centre of Mannerism

Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572), St Sebastian, ca. 1528/29, © Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Spanning the period from the return of the Medici to Florence in 1512 and the initial artistic endeavours of the new generation around Pontormo and Rosso to the 1568 publication of Vasari’s Lives (In Le Vite de più eccellenti architetti, et scultori italiani)  the exhibition will be devoted to Florence as the first centre of European Mannerism.
More than 120 paintings,drawings and sculptures will provide an overview of a stylistically formative epoch (from 1512) for which the art historiographer Giorgio Vasari coined the colourful term “maniera” in 1568. Elegant, cultivated and artificial, but also capricious, extravagant and sometimes bizarre: Mannerism. One of the works in the Städel holdings – Bronzino’s famous Portrait of a Lady in Red (ca. 1533) – formed the point of departure for this ambitious show. The project is being carried out with special support from the museums of Florence, above all the Uffizi, the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Galleria Palatina. Further key loans will come from such prominent museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Paris Louvre, the Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Szépművészeti Múzeum in Budapest and the Brera in Milan.

The art-historical development of the decades from 1512 to 1568 will be presented in close relation to Florentine city history and Medici rule – themes to be investigated in both the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue.


Printmaking in Venice

Anton Maria Zanetti (1680-1767), Christ and St. John, 1725. Grafische Sammlung ETH Zürich

The image of eighteenth-century Venetian prints is mainly shaped by vedutas of the city on the lagoon and enigmatic cycles of engravings imbued with artistic imagination. This exhibition focuses on Anton Maria Zanetti (1680-1767), art collector, connoisseur, publisher and wood-engraver, in the midst of illustrious names such as Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo, Marco Ricci and Canaletto.
Zanetti devoted his life to art, especially to drawing and printmaking. He actively encouraged many artists in his circle, most notably including Marco Ricci and Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo, to adopt engraving and work on new cycles of prints. He concentrated his attention on the older, sixteenth-century technique of coloured woodcuts, with which he reproduced his collection of drawings by Parmigianino, introducing them to connoisseurs throughout Europe. The exhibition presents the famous views of Venice and the equally fascinating Scherzi, Capricci and Grotteschi by Giambattista Tiepolo and Giovanni Battista Piranesi. In doing so, it seeks to highlight, for the first time, the significant role played by Zanetti within the context of eighteenth century Venetian printmaking.

The First Photographs of Rome

The Colloseum around 1850. Photograph Museum Vela Ligornetto.

The exhibition focuses on the earliest days of photography taking as its starting point around 150 photographs from the Marco Antonetto Collection (around 1850) . The so-called veduta painting, a detailed painting of print of a city landscape, was the examples for the earliest photographers. The exhibition illustrates the different manners in which Rome was viewed prompted by scientific research, artistic passion or professional and commercial demands. The selection displays the specificity of the earliest aspects of photography in Rome, from the first experiments with the Albumin technique, daguerreotypes, Helium- and Collodium and paper negatives, to the birth of professional photographic studios and the creation of the most popular and successful sets of images on the international market. The archaeological and historical value of these early photography is immense and the architecture and urban landscape of the ancient Roman city and the later Papal state can be viewed without the megalomaniac building activities of Mussolini after 1922.

Old Masters in Basel

Hans Holbein (1497-1543), The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb , 1522. Photograph Kunstmuseum Basel. Wikipedia

The exhibition in Basel is hosting key works from Old Masters. On show are works by Konrad Witz dating back to the first half of the fifteenth century, by Holbein’s father, Hans the Elder, famous for his portraits and altarpieces, by his son (Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb and Artist’s Family), by the “Crucifixion of Mathias Grünewald”, by sacred and profane paintings by Hans Baldung Grien and by Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Judgement of Paris”. The prominent role Swiss artists played in the emergence of the Renaissance is borne out by the Bernese painter Niklaus Manuel Deutsch and Tobias Stimmer.