Xavier F. Salomon, the Frick Collection’s chief curator, is organizing two exhibitions that will bring to New York invaluable pieces of Italian art history that have very interesting stories.
In 1566, Paolo Veronese (1528–88) was commissioned to produce two paintings for a small chapel at Santa Maria degli Angeli, a church on the Murano island in Venetian Lagoon, which was recently restored – including the paintings – by Venetian Heritage and Bulgari. The two restored paintings, “Saint Jerome in the Wilderness” and “Saint Peter Visiting Saint Agatha in Prison,” will be featured in the “Veronese in Murano: Two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces Restored” exhibition on view at the Frick from October 24 through March 11, 2018. Only “Saint Jerome” has been shown outside the church, and that was in 1939, at an exhibition in Venice.
In 1816, Antonio Canova (1757-1822) was commissioned to produce a monument to George Washington made to look like an ancient Roman leader (a suggestion of Thomas Jefferson’s), writing his farewell address, for the North Carolina State house. The sculpture was unveiled in 1821, but ten years later a fire destroyed it, leaving behind charred fragments. In the “Canova’s George Washington” exhibition, scheduled to open on May 22, 2018, Frick will showcase Canova’s full-size plaster model of the monument, which has never left Italy, as well as draft sketches and related engravings and drawings from the Museo Canova in Possagno, Italy, where the artist was born.
Salomon said that Veronese and Canova had much in common; they are “giants in Italian art history, but these are very little-known stories that need to be better known and better understood.”
Ilona Catani Scarlett