Geniuses and Masterpiseces I.

Titian and the Venetian Madonna

1 December 2005 - 1 January 2006

The highlights of the exhibition which displays fifteen works of art are two paintings by Titian. One of them, the Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist and a Female Saint, is lent by the National Gallery in London. The picture painted circa 1530, represents the art of this emblematic master of the Venetian High Renaissance through the boldly irregular composition, the free and unbound interpretation of the theme from the Bible and apocrypha, the bucolic atmosphere in the details of the landscape, as well as the emotional immediacy and warm palette.

Titian's other exhibited painting also helps the visitors to understand how the Master of Cadore reformed the use of colour and brushstroke to serve the expression of deeply human contents. The Virgin and Child with Saint Paul appeared on the Hungarian art market in May 2005. It was Vilmos Tátrai, curator of Italian paintings at the Old Masters Gallery, who first claimed that most presumably the picture was Titian's work. The technical examinations that have taken place since then, including X-rays, which revealed series of changes that the artist himself made, and the restoration of the painting justified the supposition regarding the authorship, as well as the archival description, which testified that the painting was considered as Titian's work in the 17th and 18th centuries and belonged to the ducal collection of Modena. The painting, with the greatest artistic value among the rediscovered paintings of the last fifty years in Hungary, has joined a private collection; therefore, these six weeks of the exhibition provide an occasion for visitors to see and admire Titian's work.

The other paintings in the exhibition, including works by Vincenzo Catena, Palma Vecchio, Polidoro da Lanciano, Girolamo Romanino, Lorenzo Lotto and Lambert Sustris – situate the two Titian works in a broader Venetian context. The inclusion of the donor's representations is justified by the fact that Saint Paul on the private collection's painting is in reality the depiction of the commissioner. The Sacra Conversazione (Saint Conversation) compositions, which depict the Virgin and Child with Saints in landscape setting and in a warm atmosphere, represent a characteristically Venetian genre. At the same time, they also help the interpretation of the painting from London. A copy of this latter painting from the 17th century is also part of the exhibition. The visitors have a chance to see part of the photographic documentation of the restorations that happened for this exhibition. The exhibition is sponsored by MOL Rt. and Inter-Európa Bank.

Curator of the exhibition: Vilmos Tátrai