For the first time in 500 years, the private art collection of the renowned Corsini family has departed its Italian shores and made Perth its only Australian stop.
While Perth is often the first stop for touring artists and exhibitions that then go on to explore the rest of Australia, it is a rare and utterly delightful occurrence when it is the only stop on our continent. And that is exactly what A Window on Italy – The Corsini Collection: Masterpieces from Florence has granted West Australians until June 2018.
Having survived the devastation of war and the Florence flood of 1966, it is an extraordinary privilege to have the opportunity to get up close to paintings from Italian artists such as Botticelli, Pontormo, Tintoretto and Caravaggio. Spanning the fifteenth to twentieth centuries, the collection offers a glimpse in to the captivating lives of Florence’s Corsini family.
“This exhibition presents an exquisite and absorbing window into Italian art and history,” AGWA Director, Stefano Carboni explains. “Through their patronage of the arts over hundreds of years, the Corsini family has acquired and safe-kept a magnificent collection of works, rarely seen outside of Florence.”
Worried if you’re initial lack of knowledge of the Renaissance and Baroque period will start to show? Don’t mind that, as the spectacularly impressive genealogical tree at the entrance (which dates back to the 1300s and actually includes both a Pope and a Saint) will start to put things in to perspective. Combined with detailed citations alongside every featured piece, you’ll leave the exhibition ready to quote fascinating pieces of Italian history to anyone who will listen.
“This exhibition gives you an insight into three intertwined stories: Italian art; people, particularly the Corsini family, but also important Florentines; and the story of a place, the story of a palazzo, the city of Florence and of Italy and the wider world,” Melissa Harpley, AGWA Curator of Historical and Modern Art says.
From the religious to the mythological, the collection is rich with portraits, landscapes, and story telling at its best. Just one such story being that of the painting of Saint Andrea Corsini, which fell victim to a bullet hole as Princess Elena fought to save the collection from the retreating Nazis during World War II.
Not only is A Window on Italy – The Corsini Collection: Masterpieces from Florence an exhibition for art enthusiasts and history buffs, it is one that traverses boundaries in to fascinating architecture and the craftsmanship of furniture, decorative objects and costume.
Do yourself a favour – set aside a couple of hours and immerse yourself in the experience. With child-friendly and relatable activities for the young ones and free guided tours, anyone who embraces this rare opportunity won’t be left disappointed.