The city of Gubbio preserves intact its splendid medieval appearance, with churches and stone palaces that stand out against the green of the Apennines. It is still the city of the time of Dante and of Oderisi da Gubbio, the miniaturist whom the great poet meets among the proud in Purgatory and to whom he dedicates important verses, which sanction the beginning of a modern age that manifests itself precisely with poetry of Dante and the art of Giotto.
The exhibition “Gubbio at the time of Giotto, art treasures in the land of Oderisi” – open until November 7, 2018 – wants to give back the image of a medium-sized city of political and cultural importance in the Italian panorama between the end of the thirteenth century and the first decades of the Three hundred, exposing the figurative heritage both civil and religious. For the occasion he restored paintings hidden by the dust of the centuries, returning to Gubbio works scattered throughout history, bringing together paintings of the same painters eugubini destined to other cities of Umbria, calling important loans from abroad.
Panel paintings, sculptures, goldsmiths and illuminated manuscripts outline, also with new attributions, the physiognomies of great artists like Guido di Oderisi, aka Maestro delle Croci Francescane, The Master of the Cross of Gubbio, the Expressionist Master of Santa Chiara or Palmerino di Guido , “Guiduccio Palmerucci”, Mello da Gubbio and the Maestro of Figline.
The father of Oderisi, Guido di Pietro from Gubbio, is today identified as one of the protagonists of the so-called “Greek Manner”, from Giunta Pisano to Cimabue. Palmerino was Giotto’s companion in Assisi in 1309, and with him he painted the walls of two chapels of San Francesco, then return to Gubbio and fresco the church of the Friars Minor and other buildings of the city.
“Guiduccio Palmerucci”, today a convention name, is still attributed to rapacious polyptychs. Mello da Gubbio wrote his name at the feet of a Madonna with a full and joyful face like the Madonnas of Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the city of Siena. The Master of Figline, who painted the stained glass windows for Saint Francis in Assisi, then the great Crucifix in the church of Santa Croce in Florence, is likely to have left an extraordinary polyptych in the church of San Francesco in Gubbio, which we can admire again this exhibition thanks to today’s owners who have granted the loan for the first time.
From the archival documents and the appearance of the Madonnas and Crucifixes hanging on the walls of the museums, it appears that the painters who joined Giunta Pisano originated in Gubbio, then worked alongside Giotto and finally Pietro Lorenzetti, to decorate the colorful images the masterpiece that opened the doors of modern art in the church erected above the tomb of the saint of Assisi.
Back home, those painters, who had been involved in the new language of Giotto and Pietro Lorenzetti for an audience of popes and cardinals, challenged with a refined style and popular in the illustrative aspect, to be understood by an audience of blacksmiths and stone masters. The language of lauda was then spoken at Gubbio together with the language of the Commedia.
The exhibition “Gubbio at the time of Giotto. Art treasures in the land of Oderisi “is set up in three different locations, because there are irremovable works, but also because there are places full of meaning and imbued with beauty: the Palazzo dei Consoli which rises above a fabulous terrace that makes it look like to those cities that the saints carry in the sky in the altar polyptychs, the Diocesan Museum that stands next to the cathedral church and finally the Palazzo Ducale, which was born as the seat of the City and ended up being the residence of Federico da Montefeltro, lord of Urbino.
Along this path you can trace the footprints of the men and women of that ancient time, to see from the same perspective and understand with the same taste a civic and religious art together.
Curated by Giordana Benazzi, Elvio Lunghi and Enrica Neri Lusanna, the exhibition is promoted by the Municipality of Gubbio, the Polo Museale dell’Umbria, the Superintendence of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Umbria, the Eugubian Church and the Umbria Region.
The organization is entrusted to Civita Exhibitions in collaboration with Gubbio Cultura and Multiservizi and La Medusa Cultural Association. The initiative’s partner is the Festival of the Middle Ages, with the support of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation of Perugia and with the important contribution of the BCC Umbria.
An audio guide for the exhibition is available for hire at the Ducal Palace. The catalog is published by Fabrizio Fabbri Editore-Perugia. The exhibition is accessible with a single ticket that allows you to visit the three exhibition sections but also the three museum sites as a whole, the Palazzo dei Consoli, the Diocesan Museum and the Palazzo Ducale, thus creating an extraordinary city circuit that collects the works in the territory and those that have long been dispersed, reconstructing the historical events and the artistic heritage of Gubbio in the municipal age.