Saturday, December 9, 2017

An afternoon with the Corsini's

Today I met up with my friend and together we visited the Corsini exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery.   A fantastic collection of renaissance paintings from the private collection of the illustrious Corsini's whose history goes back to somewhere around 1300 and includes a family saint, three cardinals and Pope Clement XII.   I was interested as I had read that one painting was by Caravaggio and another by Botticelli.  Well, I didn't hit it off with Caravaggio but the Botticelli was amazing!
The two angels on the left hold the hyssop and the spear, while the two on the right hold the nails and the crown of thorns.  Mary has her eyes closed "as she anticipates what is to come"  - the notes told me all this.  But I was most impressed with the painting of the velvet robes of the Madonna.   I felt that if I reached out and touched they would be soft and luxurious.   Well done Botticelli.
It was a well curated display and obviously every effort had been made to impress - this is the first time the private collection has left Florence.  Fancy coming to the Anitpodes on your first overseas trip!   The portrayal of the robes, the lace, the velvet, the brocade was amazing and the ornate carved wooden gilded frames were to be envied.   Some of the ancestors looked forbidding and one Cardinal was distinctly austere.   The religious iconography was interesting; I hadn't realised there were so many styles of halo.   The two paintings which were the samples painted for the ceiling frescos were incredibly detailed - one was of smiling fat cherubs carrying the palace and the coat of arms heavenward.   A facsimile of that one was on the ceiling in the room which had the ornate table setting of Corsini family china and cutlery and reinforced that the rich and famous live totally different lives. 
Obviously castles are cold places and this huge portal curtain was on display - not for its draught stopping qualities but because it bears the coat of arms of the family.    Embroidered in gold and silver on a heavy velvet type of fabric it had survived the centuries reasonably intact.
Thank you to the princes and princesses of Corsini for your generosity to Aucklanders in allowing your valuable painting to come to our City.






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