Thursday, July 6, 2017

269. Renaissance Art in Sicily

I can’t spend time in Sicily and not immerse myself in a little Renaissance art, so today I head off to the Palazzo Abatellis which is home to the Galleria Regionale della Sicilia, the Gallery of Art for the Sicilian region.

The palazzo was designed in the 15th century by Matteo Carnelivari, and was the residence of Francesco Abatellis (or Patella), port master of the Kingdom of Sicily.

After the death of Abatellis, it remained to his wife, and, after her death, it was given to a female monastery. Several modifications were carried on to adapt it to monastic life. They included a chapel, built on the left side of the palace (1535–1541), hiding one of the façades. In the 18th century, following the construction of a bigger church (the current Santa Maria della Pietà), the chapel was abolished and divided into several rooms. The front part was used as parlatory, while the rear section, with the altar removed, was turned into a series of storage rooms.

During the night between 16 and 17 April 1943 the palace was struck during an Allied air bombing raid on the city: the loggia, the portico, the south-western sector and the wall of the western tower crumbled down. In the years following the war, the palace was restored, and it was decided to use it for the Galleria d’Arte per le collezioni d’arte medievale ( "Gallery of medieval collection" ). The restoration works were completed in 1953, and the art gallery opened on 23 June 1954.

The regional gallery is home to many works acquired when several religious orders were suppressed in 1866. The three floors of the Museum contain – predominately religious - work from the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries (  the Late Medieval Period to the Early Renaissance …).

 Master of the Triumph of Death and Help
- artist unknown - 14th Century

 ... detail

 ... detail

 Eleonora D'Aragona
Francesco Laurana - 1458-1502
 Bust of Lad
- artist unknown -

 Madonna of the Snow
Antonello Gagini - 1516

Portrait of a Lad
Antonello Gagini - 1478-1536

Madonna with Baby
Antonello Gagini

A rest for the eyes as I climb the stairs to the next floor ...

 Madonna of the Humble
Bartolomeo Pellerano - 1346

 Saint Nicola on the Throne
- artist unknown -

 Saint Agatha and Saint George
Jacopo Di Michele - 1371-1395

Much of the art from this period was themed on Christian religious stories and decorated the walls of the churches - presumably to strike terror into the minds of the simple illiterate folk who worshipped therein ... bearing in mind that the Bible and the mass were written and spoken in Latin and beyond the understanding of the vast majority of the people, the paintings and sculptures in the churches were the means by which the church relayed their teachings.

Though I love the art from this time, much of the themes were about pain and death and torture and the perils of burning in hell - instilling fear and control by the male dominated church. I have chosen rather to exhibited portions of many of the paintings giving examples of the fine artwork on more pleasant topics ... ( My apologies to the artists and to the Museum for not showing the complete artworks ... ).

  detail from altar piece - Coronation of the Virgin
- artist unknown -

   detail from altar piece - Coronation of the Virgin
- artist unknown -

   detail from altar piece - Coronation of the Virgin
- artist unknown -

 another eye rest ...

 Saints Anastasia, Agatha, Lucia and Apollonia
Tommaso de Vigilla - 1460-1494

 detail ...

 ... detail 

 The Annunciation of the Virgin
 ... is the museum's most famous work, 
and is considered among Italy's best Renaissance paintings.
Antonello de Messina - 1430-1479

 Vigin with Angles and Musicians
Antonello Crescenzio

detail from altarpiece
- artist unknown - 

detail from altarpiece
- artist unknown -

 detail from altarpiece
- artist unknown - 
The Annunciation
- artist unknown -
 detail from - the Adoration of the Magi
- artist unknown -

The Sacred Family with Saint John
- artist unknown -
detail from - Portrait of a Young Man 
Anonimo Toscano - 1563

 detail from - Madonna and Baby
Leonardo Grazzi - 1542

detail from - Conversion of Saul
 Marco Pino - 1574

 Madonna and Baby with Saints
Vincenzo Degli Azani from Pavia - 1519-1557

 ... detail

 ... detail
( note the machete in the head of Saint Peitro Martire ... !!!

 Madonna and Child with Saint Francis 
Simone de Wobreck - 1557-1587

 The Assumption
Simone de Wobrek

... detail

 Blessed Phillip Entrusts the Congregation to the Virgin
Gaspare and Leonardo Bazzono - 1615

 ... detail 

 detail from - Nativity with Saint Clare
Pietro D'Asaro - 1609

 The Maiden
Andrea Vaccaro - 1604-1670

 detail from - The Annunciation
Pietro Novelli - 1603-1647

There is no doubt that this is stunning art, and much of it on a grand scale, but after a couple of hours of gazing at crucifixions, and blessed virgins and saints being tortured ( I wont even hint at telling you what happened to Saint Agata ), my head was spinning and in desperate need of something strong and sweet, next stop the outside cafe under the huge fig tree in the square opposite ...