- Art & Culture
Gentileschi: Rest on the Flight into Egypt
For the first time you will admire, one next to the other, the two versions of the “Rest on the Flight into Egypt”, two masterpieces by Orazio Gentileschi. An extraordinary exhibition promoted by Cremona Municipality and its Town Museums, curated by Mario Marubbi.
Beyond these two great paintings, the first of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wien and the second belonging to a private collection, the exhibition proposes a selection of other paintings, sculptures, objects in ivory and engravings about the popular theme of the “Flight”, recounted only in the Gosple of Matthew and in the New Testament Apocrypha.
Two similar paintings, by Orazio Gentileschi, made one after the other and dedicated to the tale of the “Rest on the Flight to Egypt". A theme which was wonderfully portrayed by Gentileschi and which attracted several purchasers. In fact, beyond the two versions in Cremona, there are other two paintings dedicated to this theme, one at Louvre and one at the Birmingham Museum. Paintings which are considered among the most interesting of the Italian production of the first part of the 17th Century.
The two versions exhibited at Ala Ponzone Picture Gallery date back to the moment when Orazio Gentileschi – probably the most precocious, intelligent and open-minded Caravaggesque painter – was enjoying a moment of enormous international fame. This fame increased in Paris, where he was called to the court of Maria de’ Medici, and then it was amplified in London where he was invited by George Villiers, first duke of Buckingham.
The end of the Kingdom of Charles the First provoked the fall of his powerful minister and his “Flight into Egypt” was auctioned by George Cromwell in Anversa in 1646. It was included in the collections of the Archduke Leopoldo Gugliemo, for his Castle in Prague and then it was sent to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wien.
Also the second version had a difficult history. After several passages, in the 19th Century, the picture was included in the collection of the Dukes of Buckingham, to substitute the twin painting which was sent to Prague. When it was re-introduced in the market it was included in the collection of Paul Getty in Malibu and today it is one of the masterpieces of a private collection in Mantua.
For the first time in history, the two “Buckingham” versions of the “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” will be displayed one next to the other, thanks to the loan of the Wien Museum which will receive from Cremona Museum the famous “St.Francis in Meditation” by Caravaggio. And, obviously, thanks to the collector who owns the other version of the painting.