Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Apart for Four Hundred Years

Curtsy to Gentleman Jay for the link and story. Thank you!

UK Telegraph: V&A brings family together after 400 years apart---

A husband, wife and their children, separated for more than 400 years, have been reunited for a spectacular exhibition on the art and culture of domestic life in Renaissance Italy.

Paulo Veronese, one of 16th century Venice's greatest artists, painted a pair of double portraits of the wealthy da Porte Thiene family, of nearby Vicenza, in 1551. They were to hang in the hallway of their new palazzo, built for them by Andrea Palladio to demonstrate their importance.

The young Veronese, a contemporary of Tintoretto, divided the family along gender lines in his portraits.
You can see a photograph of the portraits, side by side, here.
In one, he showed Count Iseppo da Porto, a knight of the Holy Roman Empire, with his eight-year-old son, Leonida.

The other was of his wife, Livia Thiene, wearing a marten's pelt with a jewelled head and gazing devoutly at her husband, standing with their daughter, Porzia, aged about four.

Though the Palazzo Iseppo da Porto still stands, the portraits disappeared from it by the end of the 16th century and scholars did not hear of them again until the early 20th century. Then one, father and son, surfaced in the collection of Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi. It now belongs to the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

The other appeared in the shop of a Florentine antiquarian and was bought by the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
Don't you want to know where they were for all those years?

I do wish I could see them:
They go on show, side by side as Veronese intended, for the first time in four centuries at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, west London, from Thursday.
Four centuries!?! Amazing.

You can visit the Victoria & Albert website here. (Fun activity from the website: design a Renaissance Room!!!)

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