The first days in September, I visited the Museo de Arte Decorativo (Museum of Decorative Art) in the city of Buenos Aires.
“Meraviglie dalle Marche, 600 years of Italian painting” was the name given to this shocking exhibit where 42 marvelous pieces by different artists were shown. They managed to transport me to different centuries showing from the remissance art of 1300 until neoclassicism of the XX century from “the old continent”.
These same pieces were exposed in April and May 2012 in The Vatican and they come from museums from the region of La Marcha (Le Marche) in Italy. The theme was to show different aspects of Italian religious icons, based on pictures which show The Virgin´s life.
One of the most shocking pieces was “Santa Catalina de Alejandría” (1500-1513), this might be because it was the only piece in Buenos Aires which belonged to Rafael.
This beautiful marble patina is only 39x15cm and it shows St Mary Magdalene blending with the image of the Virgin on the main frame. The most surprising is that on the reverse, there is a unusual inscription. This small board was made during Rafael´s last period, when he made small pieces for ducal collections.
This exhibit showed pieces by Luca Giordano, Carlo Maratta, Giovanni Barbieri, Giovanni Francisco Guerrieri, Joseph Heintz, Rubens and Adolfo de Carolis among others.
The great presentation card for this exhibit was the image of the “Praying Virgin” usually known as “Mater Dolorosa”, done by Giovanni Battista Salvi on the XVII century. This stunning image amazed me, not by its size 48x38cm but by the look on the Virgin´s eyes.
There are many thins a work of art can transmit, that you can´t learn. Clearly a theoretical background is important but we just have to let the emotion captivate our attention and reach our hearts.