To coincide with the first major exhibition in the UK dedicated to the Italian Renaissance sculptor Donatello, recently opened at the V&A Museum, Moretti Fine Art is staging its own exhibition entitled In Donatello’s Shadow: at home in the Renaissance, which explores the burst of creativity in Renaissance Florence through various art forms.
Together with the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, the painter Masaccio and sculptor Luca della Robbia, Donatello was designated one of the ‘fathers of the Renaissance’. At this historic moment, with the humanist revival of antiquity, the figurative arts thrived in Florence, resulting in a proliferation of civic, religious, and private commissions.
The exhibition at Moretti Fine Art highlights the boundless creativity of artists in Renaissance Florence and looks especially at works of art intended for display or devotion in the home, produced in Donatello’s shadow. The artist’s admiration for antiquity evolved into a classical language that had a deep impact on all the figurative arts. This, in turn, led to the most circumspect patrons adorning their homes with paintings and sculptures (in terracotta, bronze or marble), many of which have found their way into museum collections around the world.
In the homes of the cultured and the affluent in fifteenth-century Florence, you would have been able to admire fine furniture, decorated chests (cassoni), devotional works (either painted or in terracotta), small-scale paintings ‘da camera’ (for the bedroom), and ornaments which bore didactic or auspicious meanings. The exhibition brings together a range of objects and works of art that would have formed part of everyday life in Renaissance Florence, but which today are rare collectors’ items.
Installed to evoke a palazzo interior, the exhibition pays tribute to the connoisseurs and art dealers Stefano Bardini (1836–1922) and Elia Volpi (1858–1938), who together shaped the art market in Florence at the turn of the twentieth century. Their expertise in and refined taste for Quattrocento art, textiles, furnishings and architectural fragments helped shape the collecting and display of these objects in the home, as can still be appreciated at the Museo Bardini and Palazzo Davanzati in Florence.
Marking London Art Week's 'Art in History in Focus' programme, we will be co-hosting a talk with The Burlington Magazine at Moretti Fine Art in London on Wednesday 22 March 2023. Luke Syson (Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) will be in conversation with Tommaso Mozzati, (professor at the Università degli Studi di Perugia) and Laura Llewellyn (Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500 at The National Gallery), discussing art in the Renaissance home at the time of Donatello.
Moretti Fine Art
13, Duke Street, St. James's
London SW1Y 6DB
Monday to Friday
10 am - 6 pm