Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Venice: Gallerie dell’Accademia - Paradise Regained – Michele Giambono

Venice: Gallerie dell’Accademia - Paradise Regained – Michele Giambono. At the Gallerie dell’Accademia the exhibition Il Paradiso Riconquistato - Trame d’oro e colore nella pittura di Michele Giambono - Paradise Regained - golden textures and color in the paintings of Michael Giambono, until April 17 is curated by Paola Marini,  Matteo Ceriana and Valeria Poletto. The exhibition arose from the need to explain the largely unexpected and highly significant results that emerged during the restoration of two panel paintings in the Gallerie dell’Accademia: The Coronation of the Virgin and Saints (also known as Paradise) and the Deposition of Christ from the Cross, both by Michele Giambono.  In the former, detail above, the restoration has revealed large, previously unimagined areas of original paintwork, which implies a complex and fascinating historiographical premise:  the activity of a busy, greatly varied workshop peopled by individuals from different cultures, individuals whose role and and identity might eventually be revealed thanks to determined research and scholarship.  The works exhibited aim to illustrate this special aspect and in particular the relationship in the 1440s between Michele Giambono and the workshop of Giovanni d’Alemagna and Antonio Vivarini, the other great protagonists of this period who have been linked through archival documentation with this same altarpiece of the Coronation of the Virgin.

The Two Paradise
Giovanni d’Alemagna, Antonio Vivarini - Coronation of the Virgin and Saints – Paradise – 1444
tempera and oil, pastiglia on wood
Michele Giambono - The Coronation of the Virgin and Saints – Paradise – 1447-1448
tempera on wood
In 1447 Giambono signed a contract with the procurator of the church of Sant’Agnese for an altarpiece for the high altar. The contract specified that he had a year to produce a work designed to replicate the 1444 altarpiece for the church of San Pantalon by Giovanni d’Alemagna, Antonio Vivarini and the woodcarver Cristoforo da Ferrara. While remaining faithful to the 1444 model, Giambino modified the orderly San Pantalon Paradise into a highly charged composition with an excited crowd of holy figures.

photograph courtesy Gallerie dell’Accademia

Michele Giambono - The Coronation of the Virgin and Saints – Paradise – 1447-1448
tempera on wood

Paola Marini, director of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Matteo Ceriana and Valeria Poletto curators of the exhibition and Maria Chiara Maida
technical director of the restoration 


Michele Giambono - The Deposition of Christ from the Cross
1430-1435 Ca.
tempera and gold on wood
Documented between 1420 and 1462, Michele Giambono was the last and extraordinary interpreter of the late Gothic style in Venice.  His was a technically intense and stern style, and figuratively he was influenced by the work of Gentile da Fabiano, even though he had never been his direct apprentice or student.  Much appreciated for his aristocratically tasteful compositions, he was also one of the Venetian Republic’s official painters. A stunning work that perfectly illustrates his production, the Deposition of Christ from the Cross, above is being exhibited for the first time.

Michele Giambono – San Crisogono – 1450 ca.
mixed media on wood

Michele Giambono – Virgin and Child – 1440-1445 ca.
tempera and gold on wood
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

New York: The MET - Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion, Exhibition

New York: The MET - Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion, Exhibition. The Costume Institute’s Fall 2016 exhibition, Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion, on view, until February 5, features significant acquisitions of the past 10 years. The show, curated by Assistant Curator Jessica Regan with support from Curator in Charge Andrew Bolton, explores how the department has honed its collecting strategy to amass masterworks of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, including iconic works by designers who have changed the course of fashion history and advanced fashion as an art form. Each object— primarily women’s wear, as well as some men’s wear and a selection of accessories—is accompanied by an in-depth explanation of its significance within the canon of fashion history. Some newly acquired objects are paired with pieces already in the collection to illustrate the enduring influence of certain master couturiers and iconic historical silhouettes.
Comme Des Garcons –  Rei Kawakubo - Ensemble – 2015
Maison Margiela – John Galliano – Ensemble – 2015
French – Coat -1787-92
“While fashion is often derided for its ephemerality, its quick responsiveness to change ensures that it is an immediate expression of the spirit of its time—a vivid reflection of social, cultural, and political circumstances, and of shifting ideals of beauty. The masterworks we’ve chosen to highlight are among many we have collected in the past decade that draw on forms, motifs, and themes of the past, reinterpreting fashion history in ways that resonate in the present.”
Jessica Regan

British – Robe a La Anglaise – 1747 ca.
Eighteenth-century garments are generally evaluated more for the quality of their materials than for details of cut and construction.
Edward Maloney

Paul Poiret – Opera Coat - 1911
Standout fashions of the Nineteenth century, meanwhile, display exemplary dressmaking or tailoring techniques and distinctive silhouettes.
Gilbert Adrian – Dress – 1947
Elsa Schiaparelli – Jean Cocteau – Evening Jacket - 1937
Masterworks of the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries are primarily signature works by designers who have expanded the possibilities for fashion, whether conceptually or through innovative construction and techniques.

Viktor and Rolf – Ball Gown – 2010
“Our mission is to present fashion as a living art that interprets history, becomes part of the historical process, and inspires subsequent art,” “Over the seven decades since The Costume Institute became part of The Met in 1946, our collecting strategy has shifted from creating a collection of Western high fashion that is encyclopedic in breadth to one focused on acquiring a body of masterworks.” 
Andrew Bolton
Nicoletta Santoro
Lanvin-Castillo – Evening Dress – 1956
Charles James – ‘Tulip’ Evening Dress – 1949
House of Balenciaga – Cristobal Balenciaga - Dress – 1967
Philip Tracey – Paphiopedilum Philippinense Orchid Hat – 2000

Suzy Menkes

Zandra Rhodes – Punk Wedding Dress – 1977
Versace – Dress – 2016

Hussein Chalayan – Dress – 1999
The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas’s Valerie and David Noh
Noritaka Tatehana – “Silver-Rose” Shoes – 2014
Chopines – Italian - 1600

Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion - The Harold Koda Gift
The Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery features some of the ensembles donated by designers in honor of Harold Koda upon his retirement as Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute in January 2016. Through innovative and compelling exhibitions, he elevated our collective understanding of fashion as an art form. Koda's presentations were shaped by his belief in the power of dialogue between past and present the idea that the artistry of the past can be enlivened by that of the present day and that the significance of contemporary work is clarified when it is anchored in a broader historical narrative. This influential approach was complemented by Koda's passionate dedication to building the collection.

House of Dior – Raf Simmons – Ensemble - 2014-15
House of Dior – Christian Dior – “Mystere” Coat – 1947-48

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Milano: Fornasetti - “Il dissoluto punito ossia il Don Giovanni” - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Lorenzo Da Ponte

Photograph by Arianna Sanesi – courtesy Fornasetti

Milano: Fornasetti - “Il dissoluto punito ossia il Don Giovanni” - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Lorenzo Da Ponte. At the Teatro dell’Arte, appropriately inside the Triennale, the design museum, in Milan, the premier of “Il dissoluto punito ossia il Don Giovanni” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte was produced and/with sets by Barnaba Fornasetti. After 229 years since the first performance in Prague, and for the first time in Italy, those original instruments and sounds for which Mozart created his masterpiece were heard once again, fully respecting the greatness of the original score.
Next Performances
Florence – 10-12-13 January 2017
Teatro della Pergola
+ 39 055 0763333


“Try to imagine a world without music… you would have the same feeling in a world without decoration.”
Barnaba Fornasetti

  set design courtesy Fornasetti

Don Giovanni – The Sets
The sets are based on classic imagery, reinterpreted in a modern way by Fornasetti. The themes taken from the Fornasetti archives range from playing cards, a symbol of lightness and the eternal unexpected, to the metaphysical room where the characters try to get lost but always return, to the emblematic women’s faces of different identities, a constant and obsessive reminder of the main theme of the work. The extraordinary artistic vision of this opera is thus enhanced and completed, creating a surreal graphic world. Mobile partitions add a fluid rhythm to the rapid progress of the events, evoking a fantastic but also powerful and evocative situation in the absence of a real environment.

Photograph by Ray Tarantino – courtesy Fornasetti

Don Giovanni – The Costumes
The costumes designed by Romeo Gigli reflect the fragility of the characters, outside of space and time, but with all the memory of emotions.


Don Giovanni – The Orchestra and The Conductor
The orchestra, Silete Venti! of 30 pieces, conducted by Simone Toni, above, played period instruments, reproducing the original Mozart ensemble: the longitudinal arrangement with the strings opposite the wind instruments contributes to create a sonic and emotional result of great impact, as in the first performances in the 1700s.
The Fortepiano. In keeping with the original score Fornasetti decided to replicate the original fortepiano made by Anton Walter in 1782. The fortepiano is decorated with images from the Fornasetti archives, to create a bridge between the Austrian genius and the modern creative vision of Fornasetti that pervades this project.

Don Giovanni – The Libretto

Artist Jacopo Foggini with Artistic Director Valeria Manzi

  Set design courtesy Fornasetti

Don Giovanni

Conductor: Simone Toni
Orchestra: Silete Venti!
Project and Set design: Barnaba Fornasetti
Creative direction and Costumes: Romeo Gigli
Director: Davide Montagna
Lights: Gigi Saccomandi
Artistic directors: Valeria Manzi and Roberto Coppolecchia
Producer: Andrea Nannoni

The opera, as proposed by this unusual working group, avoids any attempt to make a customary replica, and conceals a dream that unites a set of artists joined in a trans-creative pact; personalities giving form to a project in which the visions of the individual contribute to generate a single, inseparable subject. Folly and ingenuity are combined with the desire not to amaze, but to simply state their own existence. The goal is not only to engage an audience attracted by the operatic performance as such, but also to appeal to a varied public, through the artistic and intellectual particular that determine the character of the work.


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