Realism of the Renaissance

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Realism of the Renaissance


Italian paintings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods are on display at the Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center, providing an opportunity to appreciate masters such as Bernardo Strozzi, Giovanni Cariani Bergamo, Jacopo Tintoretto, Guido Reni and Leonardo da Vinci.
“Renaissance-Baroque Arts Exhibition” brings a total of 95 paintings into view through February 26, 2006. The exhibition is part of many cultural events included in Germany’s “Korea Year 2005” celebrations. The paintings are on loan from the State Museum of Schwerin and the Institute For Cultural Exchange in Germany.
The paintings were produced in central and northern Italian cities such as Venice and Naples from the 16th century to the 18th century. They are characterized by rules of perspective, use of light and a realistic portrayal of people.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are “Madonna Della Pappa” by Strozzi, “The Seducement” by Giovani Cariani Bergano, “The Virgin of the Rocks” by Bernardino de Conti, “Capriccio with Palace of the Senators on Capital Hill” by Bernardo Bellotto and “Portrait of a Venetian Nobleman” by Tintoretto.
“The Virgin of the Rocks” was once presumed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci, but now it is considered to be the work of his best pupil, Bernardino de Conti. The theme of the painting is the Immaculate Conception, a subject that was revered in Milan at that time. It was believed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci up until the early 1950s because it contained the themes of the virgin of the rocks and the kissing infants.

The man in “The Seducement,” who is wearing a laurel crown and holding a lyra, is said to be a satirical depiction of the Roman god Apollo or a portrayal of materialistic love. The man is facing forward while only one side of the woman’s face is visible. Compositions of two people with one face fully visible and the other face half obscured were popular in early 16th century Italian paintings.
Venetian paintings saw a resurgence in the 18th century. Bernardo Bellotto was a veduta painter, one who draws, paints and etches detailed depictions of cities, towns and landscapes. Bellotto was appointed as a court painter in Dresden in 1748. In the 1760s, instead of veduta paintings, he did more capriccio paintings, which dealt with palaces and stairs, incorporating the rules of perspective. Bellotto’s capriccio in the display shows Venetian-style stairs and a lion sculpture gushing water from its mouth.
The nobleman in the portrait by Tintoretto is wearing a long floor-sweeping overcoat, which was typical in portraits of Venetian nobles. Detailed depictions of facial expression and hands and backgrounds of a scaled-down Renaissance-style garden were popular elements of compositions in the 1550s.
“Lucretia” by the Studio of Guido Reni and “Head of a Young Woman” by Leonardo da Vinci are also noteworthy.

by Limb Jae-un

The museum opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m., except for the last Monday of each month. Ticket prices are 9,000 won to 12,000 won. For more information, visit or call (02) 3143-6028.
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