Going for Baroque

by Danilo Brunetti

A new exhibit celebrates the 17th-century art explosion that changed the course of art history. Tiffany Parks shares her review.

A collaboration between the Scuderie del Quirinale, one of Rome’s premier exhibition venues, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C, and the Musei di Genova, celebrates the rich artistic output of the Genovese baroque at a highly anticipated new exhibition. Superbarocco: Art in Genoa from Rubens to Magnasco explores the so-called “golden century” of Genoese art, the 17th century, one of the most glorious epochs in art history of all time. The two-city traveling exhibition was set to open in D.C. last fall, but after a postponement due to the surge of Covid cases in the US, the inauguration was moved to Rome instead, and runs all spring at the Scuderie del Quirinale.

The spectacular exhibition showcases over 120 works on loan from Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale as well as some of the greatest museums around the world and a number of exclusive private collections. The result is a celebration of this important Italian maritime city during the period of its greatest cultural and artistic splendor.

Genoa’s nickname La Superba (which can translate to both superb as well as proud and arrogant)—to which the title Superbarocco refers—is an apt label for a city that, between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 18th centuries, was one of the great economic capitals of Europe. The pomp and luxury of the noble Genoese families of the period are captured skillfully in the paintings on display, from the sumptuous clothes in the portraits by Rubens and Van Dyck, to the rich furnishings that crowd the canvases of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, from the luxuriant baroque compositions by Domenico Piola and Gregorio De Ferrari, to the capricious landscapes of Magnasco. The exhibition is a fascinating journey into an unforgettable era through the works of the greatest artists of the period. scuderiequirinale.it