The Italian Courts: The House of Este

Exhibitions  08/03/2014 - 06/07/2014

Guercino - Venere, Marte e Amore (part.)

The Renaissance and Baroque in Ferrara and Modena

A unique opportunity to admire several masterpieces from the collections of the House of Este from Galleria Estense in Modena – still closed after the devastating earthquake of 2012 - and other prestigious Italian and European museums.

The exhibition illustrates the role and the prominence of the House of Este at the time of their rule over Ferrara – the original seat and capital of the first Este dominion – and Modena – the new capital since 1598, after the Ferrara territory was returned to the Pope.

The art works were carefully selected to represent the dynasty's collections and their major decorative undertakings. Thus the exhibition takes the visitor on a fascinating journey from the Renaissance and Duke Alfonso I (1505-1534) – who commissioned works to Titian and Dosso Dossi as well as the legendary “alabaster rooms” (camerini d’alabastro) in the Castle of Ferrara – to the Baroque splendor of Francesco I (1629-1658). The display also celebrates the flourishing literary and musical production of the time, evoked here by the famous Este harp.

Duke Francesco, whose image is widely associated with European art thanks to magnificent portraits by Velázquez and Bernini, brought Modena up to par with the international capitals of other kingdoms and turned the Rocca di Sassuolo into a modern, breath-taking “delight” by engaging the finest artists and decorators like Jean Boulanger; at the same time, a Picture Gallery was added to the Ducal Palace in Modena, that is still home to masterpieces by, among others, Correggio, Tintoretto, Guido Reni and Guercino which, in addition to Titian, Dosso Dossi, Velázquez, Jean Boulanger and others, will be on display at Venaria Reale.

On this occasion and in solidarity with the people of Emilia Romagna, the Reggia di Venaria and La Venaria Reale Conservation and Restoration Center will restore two altar pieces from the church of San Francesco in Mirandola that were seriously damaged by the earthquake and that will be on display in a special section.

Rooms of the Arts, 1st floor

March 8 - July 6 2014

Ticket for the exhibition and "All in a Palace" ticket.

Curated by Stefano Casciu
In collaboration with Soprintendenza per i Beni Storici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici di Modena e Reggio Emilia.
Scientific committee:
Luca Bellingeri (Director of Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena)
Stefano Casciu (Soprintendente BSAE di Modena e Reggio Emilia)
Davide Gasparotto (Director of Galleria Estense, Modena)
Milena Luppi (Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena)
Milena Ricci (Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena)
Marcello Toffanello (Soprintendenza per i Beni Storici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici di Modena e Reggio Emilia)