“[The Renaissance] remains infectiously alive in this captivating exhibition.”—The Boston Globe
“Donatello to Giambologna: Italian Renaissance Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston” features a fascinating collection that has never been shown as a whole and that remains virtually unknown to the general public and to scholars alike. In fact, several of the masterpieces on display were only recently rediscovered after being long hidden away in storage—like St. John the Baptist, a completely unknown early-sixteenth-century glazed terracotta recently attributed to the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Francesco Rustici, an associate of Leonardo da Vinci. Because many of the objects have been in storage and need extensive work to stabilize, clean, and restore them to their best possible state, the exhibition explores some of the challenges and issues involved in the care and preservation of such a deep and old collection by showing some objects mid-way through conservation.
Also included in the exhibition is Donatello’s beloved marble relief of Madonna of the Clouds, and what is considered to be one of the finest versions in the world of the bronze statuette representing Architecture, signed by Giambologna. The exhibition features such well-known masterworks as Antico’s bronze Bust of Cleopatra, relief sculpture in all media, and long-neglected works like St. Joseph, a rare example in America of the nearly life-sized sixteenth-century marble sculpture. Other artists highlighted include Luca della Robbia, Mino da Fiesole, and Bartolomeo Bellano, all great names in the history of Italian sculpture.