Thursday, 31 January 2019

Heroines and Heroes by Botticelli

"The Tragedy of Lucretia" by Sandro Botticelli, 1510.
Licensed byGardnerMuseum

"Heroines+Heroes" by Botticelli, at The Gardner Museum of Boston in February 14th to May 19th.

In Boston, at the Gardner Museum for the first time, this exhibition will pay tribute to the Heroines that the famous Italian Renaissance painter was able to tell with a new narrative, adapting the Roman myth to the needs of his era; a rereading that today thanks also to the contribution of the graphic novel Karl Stevens seems to be current even for our days. 

Starting from the two works at the center of the exhibition "The legend of Lucretia" and "The legend of Virginia", there are many events that will be organized to enhance these two figures of exemplary women that with their lives and especially death have fought against the tyranny. So readings, dances, concerts, performances will be staged to accompany this inspiring event to give voice to other stories of contemporary women and not, an emblem of female strength even if victims of tyranny and injustice.

The concert "The city of women" on February 17th will give light to the protagonists of the show with dances inspired by them but will also be an opportunity to hear the story of Cristina di Pisan, Sister Juan Ines de la Cruz or readings of Malala Yousafzai or in memory of Sandra Bland, the woman stopped by the police of Texas for not having put the arrow while turning with her car, arrested, beaten up and found dead in her cell three days after the arrest, in 2015.

At the center of the exhibition there are the two masterpieces by Botticelli, "The Story of Virginia" which is present here from the Accademia di Carrara of Bergamo and "The Story of Lucretia" the first Botticellian work arrived in US in 1894 thanks to Isabella Stewart Gardner who bought it convinced to create her museum. 

The two paintings were conceived together by Botticelli, both were in fact commissioned by the Vespucci family, probably by Giovanni di Guidantonio Vespucci and Namicina by Benedetto Nerli for their palazzo in Florence in via de 'Servi. Over the centuries, however, they were divided between different owners and only today they find their original location.

The exhibition is composed of other works by the great Italian painter from Europe and the United States as "The Three Miracles of Saint Zenobius" from the National Gallery of London or "The Adoration of the Magi" from the Uffizi of Florence, but it is precisely the two works of the heroines who inspired the entire exhibition, note the title "Heroines and heroes", and the reflection of the message of their existences, however legendary, to which even a great master like Botticelli wanted to pay homage making them become full protagonists of the Renaissance.

"Heroines+Heros" by Botticelli, Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, Hostetter Gallery,
14 February- 19 May 2019.

Virginia and Lucretia were two girls of the era of the Roman Republic who were the victims of violence and abuse. Both died in order not to succumb to the tyranny of the most powerful men.
Virginia (V century b. C.)  was stabbed by her father to save her from the eagerness of King Appius Claudius who wanted to steal her from her family and her promised spouse. 

Lucretia  (509 b.C.) was the wife of a Roman noble, of who fell in love one of the sons of the King who abused her one night. Lucretia stabbed herself while confessing what happened to her husband and her relatives. She was avenged by her husband who, by hunting from Rome the Traquini family, gave rise to the Roman Republic.

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