The first important exhibition in the United States dedicated to the portraiture of Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520/24 – 79/80) takes place at the Frick Collection in New York between 21 February – 2 June 2019. A celebrated figure in the Northern Italian tradition, Morini was most innovative in his naturalistic and expressive portraits, many of which were of subjects with modest social status whose identity remain elusive today.
Perhaps due to the fact that the artist never left his native province of Lombardy, Vasari missed out on Moroni in his Vite, nevertheless, the artist’s reputation has long been salvaged. A surprisingly large (around 150) of Moroni’s portraits have not just survived, but survived well. He is well represented in museums across the UK and notably, the National Gallery in London owns the biggest collection of Moroni portraits outside the Acacademia Carrra in Bergamo, many of which were acquired by Sir Charles Eastlake.
The present exhibition is a much more intimate version of the Moroni retrospective at the Royal Academy in London in 2014 in which many of the works participated. A noticeable effort was made here to present real objects depicted in the artworks in dialogue with the paintings. It was curated by Aimee Ng. ❖