Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum
March 1–June 14, 2020
FORT WORTH, Texas (January 21, 2020) The Kimbell Art Museum presents the breathtaking special exhibition Flesh and Blood, featuring 40 masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, one of the most important art collections in Italy. This monumental gathering of paintings is a journey through the major artistic achievements of Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting—featuring captivating stories, from Christian martyrdom to mythological passion, and diverse formats and purposes, from the intimacy of private devotion to the grandeur of state portraiture. The works in Flesh and Blood are by some of the greatest artists of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Titian, Raphael, Parmigianino, El Greco, Annibale Carracci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Guido Reni, Jusepe de Ribera and Luca Giordano. Their masterful paintings can be imposing or intimate, violent or tender, extravagant or humble, tragic or even seductive. The exhibition is on view at the Kimbell Art Museum from March 1 through June 14, 2020.
“The Museo di Capodimonte in Naples is one of the largest and most spectacular collections in Italy,” commented Eric M. Lee, “and its holdings have a particular strength in paintings of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. These paintings embody innovation, exuberance and grandeur—the result of revolutionary painting techniques and dramatic use of light and dark. The works continue to influence artists and inspire art lovers the world over. We are grateful to Capodimonte for lending us these profound masterpieces and look forward to sharing them with museum visitors.”
The Renaissance paintings in the Capodimonte Museum come from the collections of the Farnese family, among the richest and most powerful Italian clans during the 16th century. Their destiny was secured by the election of Alessandro Farnese as Pope Paul III in 1534, and their impressive palace in Rome embodied their ambition and glory. The Farnese were exceptional patrons, commissioning works from the most prestigious artists of their time. As a result of dynastic alliances, most of their greatest paintings came to Naples, including portraits of Alessandro by Raphael and (after his papal election as Paul III) by Titian.
The Capodimonte collection’s second major component, Baroque painting, has a more local origin. In the 17th century, Naples was one of the largest, richest and liveliest cities in Europe, far more cosmopolitan than Paris or London. Artists—both native-born and foreign—found patronage in the city, creating hundreds of paintings for its churches and palaces. Many of the finest of these are now brought together at Capodimonte and will be featured in Flesh and Blood.
The show draws from the best of both the Renaissance and Baroque holdings of the museum, starting with the famous portrait of the elegant beauty Antea by Parmigianino and the ravishing Danaë painted by Titian for the pope’s grandson, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese the younger. Annibale Carracci’s Pietà and Guido Reni’s Atalanta and Hippomenes will face off against Ribera’s Drunken Silenus and Giovanni Battista Caracciolo’s Virgin of the Purgatory in a contest of northern-Italian classicism versus Neapolitan Caravaggism. Artemisia Gentileschi, Massimo Stanzione and Bernardo Cavallino bring colors—including blood red—to the dark and violent world of Neapolitan tenebrism, leading to the seductive Baroque style. Giovan Battista Recco, Giovanni Battista Ruppolo and Andrea Belvedere lure all eyes with their magnificent and mysterious still lifes, their arrangements of food or flowers set against the tumultuous historical tapestry of patrons, painters and paintings woven in 17th-century Naples.
Kimbell Art Museum, March 1–June 14, 2020
The exhibition is organized by the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum and MondoMostre.
The organizing curator at the Kimbell Art Museum is Guillaume Kientz, curator of European art.
Admission to Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students, $14 for ages 6–11, and free for children under 6. Admission is half-price all day on Tuesdays and after 5 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is always FREE to view the museum’s permanent collection.
Visitors are invited to a free program of lectures by eminent scholars inaugurating the exhibition.
Saturday, February 29, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 2–3:30 p.m., Pavilion Auditorium
Topics and Speakers:
Welcome and Introductions
Eric M. Lee, director, Kimbell Art Museum
Capodimonte: Its History and Collection
Sylvain Bellenger, director, Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples
Bolognese Artists in Naples
Babette Bohn, professor of art history, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
Naples and Spain: Patrons, Painters, and Paintings across the Mediterranean Sea
Guillaume Kientz, curator of European art, Kimbell Art Museum
Caravaggio and Naples: Style and the Dynamics of the Market
Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessey Chairman of European Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
From Spark to Flame: The Baroque in Seventeenth-Century Naples
Viviana Farina, professor, Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli
The museum is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays and Saturdays; noon–8 p.m. Fridays; and noon–5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays.
Kimbell Art Museum
The Kimbell Art Museum, owned and operated by the Kimbell Art Foundation, is internationally renowned for both its collections and its architecture. The Kimbell's collections range in period from antiquity to the 20th century and include European masterpieces by artists such as Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Poussin, Velázquez, Monet, Picasso and Matisse; important collections of Egyptian and classical antiquities; and the art of Asia, Africa and the Ancient Americas.
The museum's 1972 building, designed by the American architect Louis I. Kahn, is widely regarded as one of the outstanding architectural achievements of the modern era. A second building, designed by world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, opened in 2013 and now provides space for special exhibitions, dedicated classrooms and a 289-seat auditorium with excellent acoustics for music.