The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection: The Renaissance (4 stars)

  • The List
  • 31 July 2008

This article is from 2008.

The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection: The Renaissance

Lorenzo Lotto: Portrait of Andrea Odoni

Treasure trove of Italian masters

You wonder what Prince William was thinking when he switched courses at university – when your Grandma owns art like this, studying Art History must have been a doddle.

This exhibition, the first of two from the Royal Collection’s holdings of 16th and 17th century Italian art, begins with works from the Renaissance and features paintings by many well-known (and some lesser-known) names such Bellini and Titian, as well as drawings by the ‘megastars’: Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.

The number of works is not overwhelming and the paintings are uniformly vibrant: there is no dull brown varnish to blunt our appreciation of the colours used by the Renaissance masters. A beautiful small panel by Mazzolino of a group of warriors has benefited from this thorough conservation, revealing extra figures and detail. Paintings by Andrea del Sarto, Lorenzo Lotto and Bronzino are also well worth a closer look, although not all the pieces are of such a high standard (for instance, Dossi’s awkward ‘Holy Family’).

The exhibition’s true strength is revealed by the drawings in the final room: Da Vinci’s ‘Neptune’ and Michelangelo’s ‘Fall of Phaeton’ are extraordinary. Forget following the complex regional Italian artistic developments and focus instead on the incredible range of works that emerged during this period, and landed, often in the most curious ways, in the Royal Collection.

The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, 556 5100, until 26 Oct, £5 (£3–£4.50).

Edinburgh Art Festival

Scotland’s largest annual celebration of visual art offers work by the best contemporary Scottish artists as well as exhibitions of the most important international artists and movements of the 20th century and other historical periods.

The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection: The Renaissance

  • 4 stars

32 paintings and 42 drawings from the period of the Italian Renaissance, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Tintoretto, Giovanni Bellini, Lorenzo Costa and Titian. This is the first of two-part exhibition, the second of which will cover the Baroque period. Last admission 5pm.

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