After Galileo nothing was as before. And not only in astronomical research and in the sciences, but also in art. With him, the sky passes from astrologers to astronomers.
The exhibition (Padua, Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, from 18 November 2017 to 18 March 2018), conceived by Giovanni C.F. Villa for the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation of Padua and Rovigo tells, for the first time, the overall figure and the role of one of the main protagonists of the Italian and European myth. In an exposition with completely original characters, where absolute masterpieces of Western art in dialogue with testimonies and different exhibits, allow us to discover a character that everyone has heard of but a few really known.
From the exhibition emerges the man Galileo in multiple facets: from the scientist father of the experimental method to the scholar exalted by Foscolo and Leopardi, Pirandello and Ungaretti, De Sanctis and Calvino. From the virtuous Galileo musician and performer to the artist Galileo, portrayed by Erwin Panofsky as one of the major art critics of the seventeenth century; from the Galileo entrepreneur – not only the telescope but also the microscope or compass – to the Galileo of everyday life. Because man, exceptional for his power of intuition and scientific genius, was also in the small vices and weaknesses, such as the studies of viticulture and the passion for wine in the Euganean Hills – refusing the “vil coin” barter his instruments of precision with “best” wine – or the production and sale of medicinal pills.
To document “Galileo Revolution” Giovanni C.F. Villa brings together in Palazzo del Monte di Pietà in Padua an impressive number of works of art, starting from the splendid watercolors and sketches of Galileo himself, which show his high quality as a draftsman. The scientist was also a careful observer of art, as confirmed by the salacious comments on wooden inlays – “lacking in softness and made of wood” – but also on Arcimboldo, author of “whims that have a confused and inordinate mix of lines and colors “. The influence of the Galilean conquests and of modern science on the artistic culture is already evident in the early 17th century: with the meticulous rendition of nature, as evidenced by the extraordinary works of Brueghel and Govaerts, but also in a painting that immediately incorporates the irrepressible reach of ‘machines’ of Galileo.
In 1610 Galileo published Sidereus Nuncius, and an immediate effect can be seen in Adam Elsheimer’s famous Escape in Egypt, the first representation of the Milky Way. And then in a sequence of artists able to portray the moon as seen through the telescope, so much so that a notable exhibition section tells the story of the discovery of the moon from Galileo to the present day. Even the genre of still life develops new compositional formulas: the symbols of vanitas give way to a documentary representation linked to the development of the natural sciences. And then an iconographic story for masterpieces, among which the Guercino painting dedicated to the myth of Endymion stands out, with one of the first representations of the telescope perfected by the Pisan scientist. Between the Twenties and Thirties of the century comes a real Galilean “bottega”, or a generation of artists (Artemisia Gentileschi, Empoli, Stefano Della Bella, etc.) able to share the suggestions offered by the scientist’s lesson . Like the astronomical Observations of Donato Creti now in the Vatican Picture Gallery: extraordinary paintings depicting stars and planets portrayed in order to show the aspect they present to the telescope, evoking the Galilean discoveries.
Giovanni C.F. Villa also takes visitors into the “construction” of the Galilean myth in the nineteenth century. It was in 1841 when the Grand Duke Leopold II of Lorraine built, in Palazzo Torrigiani, the Tribune of Galileo, an extraordinary environment imagined as an iconographic synthesis of experimental science, from Leonardo to Galileo. After the central Florentine episode of Santa Croce, eternal by Ugo Foscolo, the nineteenth century became the century of monuments dedicated to Galileo. Here then Pisa, Rome, the Loggia degli Uffizi in Florence to reach the thirty-sixth statue of the great Paduan in Prato della Valle. To sanction the myth of Galileo next to that of Dante, the scientist-humanist capable of an epochal revolution for humanity widely reverberated in art.
The exhibition develops a large section of contemporary art from Previati and Balla to Anish Kapoor, present in the exhibition with the opening work.
12 euros in whole;
reduced 10 euros for groups of adults on a guided tour organized free of charge for one guide, groups of adults on a guided tour at fixed hours, visitors between the ages of 6 and 18, over 65, university students, teachers with documents, conventioned categories;
free for children up to 5 years old, handicapped and 1 companion, journalists with ID card, military.
Guided tours (max 25 people per group)
Guided tours for adult groups: 75 euros
Guided tours in language: 85 euros
Guided tours with Italian sign language: 90 euros
2 euro ticket per student and free entry for 2 escorts (rate valid for students of all schools).
Guided thematic tours or educational workshops: free for schools in the provinces of Padua and Rovigo; 40 euros for all other schools.
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