Caravaggio‘s San Giovanni Battista arrives at the Musei Reali of Turin, and will be on display from 25 February to 30 May in the rooms dedicated to Caravaggio’s school in the Galleria Sabauda.
The work, created between 1604 and 1606, comes from Rome from the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica thanks to an exchange promoted by the directors of the two museums on the occasion of the exhibition L’ora dello spettatore (Rome, Palazzo Barberini, 2 December 2020 – 5 April 2021).
The Roman exhibition includes in its itinerary the extremely rare painting by Hans Memling depicting the Passion of Christ, which is conserved at the Galleria Sabauda.
Caravaggio, one of the most celebrated and beloved painters of all time, with his bold and innovative style experimented in the early 1600s with new compositions of sacred and profane subjects, populated by characters depicted in the immediacy of their humanity and enriched by fragments of still life.
These include the San Giovanni Battista, one of the saints most venerated by the Christian church, an ascetic often considered to be the last of the Prophets. Caravaggio shows him as an adolescent, resting in the desert, where he spent most of his life. The figure, wrapped in a red cloak, emerges from the darkness, his face in half-light and his hands hardened by the sun, his shy, melancholy gaze turned to the darkness beyond the frame, as if surprised by a mysterious presence. Next to him are the objects that define his identity: the reed cross and the baptismal bowl.
“Despite the months of lockdown, the Musei Reali have never stopped – says director Enrica Pagella -. The emergency that we have experienced and that we are still experiencing has highlighted the need to offer the public new cultural proposals, measured against the current needs of fruition and sustainability, also developed in collaboration with other national institutions. The Musei Reali are promoting a constant exchange and comparison with the national scenario, which is now essential to offer the public new content capable of multiplying the opportunities for knowledge and experience”.
“We are delighted to announce the opening of the exhibition of Caravaggio’s San Giovanni Battista, for the first time in Turin,” says Giorgio Marsiaj, president of Consulta Valorizzazione Beni Artistici e Culturali di Torino. Consulta’s attitude is one of participation and attention; we believe in culture as an inclusive economic lever that fosters development and increases the attractiveness and well-being of the territory. Despite the critical situation created by the pandemic, Consulta’s member companies and organisations remain focused on the cultural sector, to help preserve and enhance the heritage that history has given us, for generations to come”.