From February 22 to June 16 2019, the Gallerie Nazionali d’Arte Antica present, in Palazzo Barberini, the exhibition “Il Trionfo dei Sensi. Nuova luce su Mattia e Gregorio Preti” (The triumph of the senses. New light on Mattia and Gregorio Preti) .
The exposition investigates the first activity of Mattia Preti and his training in the Roman workshop of his brother Gregorio, and revolves around the “Allegoria dei Cinque Sensi” (Allegory of the five senses), a monumental canvas inspired by Caravaggio.
Painted by the two brothers in the first half of the 17th-Century, it shows several groups of characters intent on daily activities becoming an allegorical image of the five senses.
The canvas depicts a tavern scene: Touch is represented by the “good fortune”, Taste by the woman pouring wine, and by the man, on her right, drinking it, Smell by the pipe smoker at the center of the scene, Sight by the two morra players close to the smoker, and Hearing by the group of musicians gathered around the spinet player.
The strength and the contrast between the colors denotes a certain chromatic and luminist research, as in Caravaggio’s paintings.
The exhibition presents eleven other works showing the close link between the two artists: Gregorio still tied to the academic research, the young and talented Mattia, influenced by Caravaggio, is already conscious of the new Guercino’s and Lanfranchi’s influences on the Roman baroque.
The “Allegory of the five senses” will be exposed to the public for the first time together with the “Concerto con scena di buona ventura” (Concert with a scene of good fortune), its ideal pendant coming from the Accademia Albertina of Turin and other paintings resulting from the collaboration of the two artists, like the “Cristo davanti a Pilato” (Christ before Pilato) from Palazzo Pallavicini Rospigliosi and the “Cristo che guarisce l’idropico” (Christ healing the hydropic) from a Milanese private collection.
The exhibition will also present important unpublished paintings by Mattia: first of all the monumental “Cristo e la Cananea” (Christ and the Cananea)( 1646-1647) originally in the collection of the Colonna princes, capital work of the painter during his Roman period. The discovery of this extraordinary painting – the first with a certain date – made it possible to specify the chronology of his first production.
For the first time, the “Archimede”, now in Varese, and an “Apostolo” from a private collection in Turin, will be on display for the public, documenting Mattia’s early reflection on Caravaggio’s and Jusepe de Ribera’s work. The exposition itinerary ends with another new proposal: a wonderful “Head of a child”, painted during the artist’s Roman years, found in the storage of Galleria Corsini.
Many activities are planned: extraordinary opportunity for visitors will be free guided tours by the curators of the exhibition, scheduled every Wednesday at 5.00pm (excluding May 1).
Conferences on Mattia and Gregorio Preti are scheduled on 16 April, 7 May, 21 May, 11 June.
Until June 16, 2019