The Unforgettable Tailor by Moroni in the Gallery of my Mind
The Taylor by Moroni
There are a few paintings that you never forget. Paintings that evoke so strong an emotional response that they automatically hang themselves on a wall of a room in the labyrinth of your mind. And when that painting or it’s painter comes up in some fashion, the light goes on in that room and there you are gazing at it again in your mind’s eye. The Tailor by Giovanni Battista Moroni is one such painting in my impressive and highly private collection and if it isn’t in yours just yet, it surely will be when you see it at the forthcoming Royal Academy exhibition on this unjustly neglected artist on 25th October 2014.
Giovanni Battista Moroni’s portrait is the first known depiction of someone undertaking manual labour. He’s standing upright but his head is slightly bent down to work with scissors on a black cloth that contrasts with his colourful costume. With only a slight effort he looks up and straight into your eyes but just for a moment, and then he raises the scissors and slices the black cloth. A moment in the life of a handsome tailor from a small town in North Italy… a moment long gone.
How could an artist like Giovanni Battista Moroni be so obscure? Sometimes known as the poor man’s Titian (some of his paintings were wrongly attributed to Titian), he was completely overlooked by Vasari who chronicled the most famous artists of the time. Perhaps it was because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was no great court at Bergamo and internecine strife drove him even further into the provinces, where he painted intellectuals, professionals, artisans and… The Tailor.
this exhibition is a long overdue celebration of an artist ahead of his time and ripe for rediscovery
The Royal Academy of Arts presents the first comprehensive survey of Moroni’s work to be held in the UK. After 400 years The Tailor and 39 other great masterpieces will finally establish Giovanni Battista Moroni’s reputation as an exceptional painter and a master of the Renaissance.
The exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts runs until 25th January 2015. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated and scholarly catalogue with contributions from Simone Facchinetti and Arturo Galansino.
GIOVANNI BATTISTA MORONI
by Simone Facchinetti and Arturo Galantine
published Royal Academy of Arts, London, RRP £29.95
This handsome catalogue encompasses Moronis entire career. It includes Moroni’s portraits of all formats and styles, demonstrating not just his brilliance at capturing the elegance of his sitters and the fashions of the time, but also showing the artists realistic representation of Bergamos society, which later became a model for Caravaggio. In addition to his portraits, the volume includes many of Moronis religious paintings, themselves often incorporating highly accomplished likenesses of their patrons, once again showing the striking psychological insight for which Moroni is acclaimed.
Arturo Galansino is curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Simone Facchinetti is curator at the Museo Diocesano in Bergamo.
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