The evocative setting of Palazzo Ducale will be hosting, from 6th October 2022 to 22nd January 2023, the exhibition Rubens e i Palazzi di Genova: an extraordinary event which tells the relationship between Peter Paul Rubens, one of the great painters of the baroque period, and the City of Genova.
The exhibition has been conceived on the occasion of the of the fourth centenary of the publication in Antwerp of the famous volume by Peter Paul Rubens, Palazzi di Genova (1622). The exposition is promoted by the Municipality of Genoa in collaboration with Fondazione Palazzo Ducale per la Cultura and Electa.
The exhibition is curated by Nils Büttner, a professor at Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart as well as new chairman of the Centrum Rubenianum of Antwerp, and Anna Orlando, a genovese indipendant scholar and the co-curator of the exposition L’età di Rubens held at Palazzo Ducale in 2004.
Rubens had been in Genova in various occasions between 1600 and 1607, including his visit following the Duke of Mantua, Vincenzo I Gonzaga, while he was holding the role of the court painter. Thus he had the chance to maintain direct relationships, and in some cases very close ones, with the most rich and influential aristocrats of the city oligarchy.
Over 150 works can be admired, with as many as twenty Rubens works from European and Italian museums and collections, which will be added to those currently present in the city.
Starting from this Rubensian nucleus, the story about the cultural and artistic context of the city in the epoch of its greatest splendor is completed through the paintings of the authors that Rubens certainly saw and studied (Tintoretto and Luca Cambiaso) and met in Italy, especially during his stay in Genova (Frans Pourbus the Younger, Sofonisba Anguissola and Bernardo Castello), or with whom he collaborated (Jan Wildens and Frans Snyders).
Drawings, engravings, tapestries, furnishings, antique volumes, even clothes, women's accessories and jewels celebrate the grandeur of an artistic capital visited by one of the greatest artists of all time and confirm the name of ‘Superba’ that was given to Genoa.
With Rubens and through what he saw and learned, and with exceptional witnesses, such as the works of art, and thanks to an evocative and engaging exhibition, the history of the Republic of Genoa is told at the height of its power when, at the beginning of the Seventeenth Century, it experienced a period of singular vivacity that was not only economic and financial, but also cultural and artistic.
Among the works that are coming back to Genoa, city for which the baroque genius had created those paintings, which were commisioned by the richest Genoese of that time, we can mention the Portrait of a Lady of the Faringdon Collection Trust, exceptionally detached from the walls of the wonderful residence of Buscot Park in the Oxfordshire in England: a Lady who had no name till now, but, thanks to the researches conducted in preparation for the exhibition, is now recognizable as the Genoese Violante Maria Spinola Serra.
Among the other works coming back to Genoa, there is also the recently rediscovered San Sebastiano from a European private collection, formerly part of the collection of Carlo Filippo Antonio Spinola Marquis de Los Balbases.
And for the first time in Italy, the youthful Self-portrait will be displayed, with a Rubens around twenty-seven years old, which a private collector offered as a long-term loan to the Rubenshuis in Antwerp and which will exceptionally return to the country where it was made, around 1604.
The project is based on a long course of scientific studies and insights by the curators, as well as the support of a prestigious international honorary scientific committee, made up of the greatest experts on the subject. In addition to them, a substantial number of scholars from different countries and institutions participate with specific contributions in the catalog (published by Electa).
The exhibition will be carried out with the collaboration of the City of Antwerp and the Centrum Rubenianum of Antwerp, the Honorary Consulate of Belgium in Genoa and the Chamber of Commerce of Genoa. The Municipality is working to activate other institutional partnerships with other Italian and European bodies and cities.
The Palazzo Ducale exhibition appointment is an opportunity to activate a cultural network of great importance, entitled “Rubens 22. A Network” conceived and curated by Anna Orlando: over 25 public and private entities are involved, from the Strada Nuova Museums to the Diocesan Museum, from the Ligustic Academy of Fine Arts to Palazzo della Meridiana, from the University of Genoa to the Carlo Felice Theater Foundation and the Nicolò Paganini Conservatory, together with the Archdiocese and many others. It is a dense network of collaborations, cognitive focuses, cultural events, extraordinary openings, collateral events and further exhibition projects.
In the city, moreover, the visitor can follow a real Rubensian itinerary to discover the masterpieces in their permanent locations, such as the two altarpieces of the Chiesa di Gesù - The Circumcision of 1605 and The miracles of Blessed Ignatius of Loyola of 1621 - a few steps away from Palazzo Ducale, still located on the original altars. And again, the spectacular Portrait of Gio. Carlo Doria on horseback in the National Gallery of Liguria in Palazzo Spinola, one of the most monumental celebratory effigies of the Baroque Age. The itinerary in the city will be marked with real focuses, to complete the story narrated by the exhibition of Palazzo Ducale and will also touch the Sixteenth-Century palaces that Rubens certainly visited by coming into direct contact with the owners and then reproducing them in his famous book in the two editions of 1622 and 1652, both exhibited in the exhibition in it’s original version.
As a part of the city initiatives, in June 2023, the final of The Ocean Race, the largest international sailing event that will start from Alicante in 2022, will be reported. The city is preparing for this important appointment with a series of events that present Genoa to the world. Rubens and the Palaces of Genoa and project the Rubens 22. A Network are part of the cultural program of Ocean Race in Genoa.
#GenovaRubens is the hashtag that promotes the exhibition and makes it recognizable on the social media.