Perugino’s altarpiece on display at the Museum of the Malatestiano Palace in Fano

Perugino’s altarpiece on display at the Museum of the Malatestiano Palace in Fano
Perugino’s altarpiece on display at the Museum of the Malatestiano Palace in Fano

Among the numerous events organized last year on the occasion of the celebrations for the five hundred years since the death of Pietro Vannucci, better known as Pietro Perugino (Città della Pieve, 1446 – Fontignano, 1523), still remains usable Pietro Perugino in Fano. Primus pictor in orbe, the exhibition – dossier hosted at civic Museum Of Malatesta Palace to Fano. The exhibition project, edited by Anna Maria Ambrosini Massari and Emanuela Daffratook shape last December 7, 2023 with the return to the city of the famous Durante altarpiece, made by divine painter at the end of the fifteenth century, after a long and scrupulous restoration carried out byHard Stone Factory of Florence.

The exhibition “Pietro Perugino in Fano. Primus pictor in orbe” in Fano. Word to the curator Ambrosini Massari

We wanted to call it an exhibition-dossier, because it allows us to put together an operation around a work that unites many aspects”, explains the curator Ambrosini Massari. The protagonist is the Pala, which can be admired exceptionally with its three parts positioned at man’s height, including the view of the back of the central table”.

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“Pietro Perugino in Fano. Primus pictor in orbe” at the Civic Museum of the Malatestiano Palace in Fano: the exhibition

The exhibition-dossier offers the public the opportunity to see Perugino’s Durante Altarpiece in each of its sections, around which the exhibition itinerary winds. This is made up of historical documents, post-restoration reports (which note the innovations that emerged regarding the materials, the painting techniques, the organization of the artist’s workshop and his collaborators) and virtual reconstructions, in particular the one with the so-called “altarpiece gemella”, created for the main altar of the Church of the Observants of Senigallia. Not only that, through the exhibition it is possible to delve into the history of the creation of the Altarpiece, going from the commission arrived in 1488 to the conclusion of the work in 1497, when the artist was at the peak of his career also taking on the role of director of the Sistine construction site in Vatican.

The Durante Altarpiece by Pietro Perugino: the story

The Durante Altarpiece was commissioned in April 1488 BC Pietro Vannucci said the Perugian for the main altar of the church of Santa Maria Nuova in San Lazzaro to Fano, where the Minor Observant friars moved in 1480 from the previous settlement in Santa Maria al Metauro; in 1517 they were granted the church in San Salvatore, located in the historic center of the town, to which the title of Santa Maria Nuova also passed. All the existing works in the previous Franciscan headquarters were moved here, including the painting by Perugino. The work is painted in oil on wood and consists of a large central body, depicting: the Madonna and Child and Saints John the Baptist, Louis of Toulouse, Francis, Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene; the cymatium (curved and protruding molding with which the altarpiece culminates) where the Christ in Pityand the predella (small painted band) with five episodes from the life of the Virgin. With the move of the order’s headquarters in the sixteenth century, the altarpiece was placed in the choir of the new church where from the first half of the eighteenth century it occupied the third altar on the right.

Valentina Muzi

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