A Master from Pisa between Caravaggio and Gentileschi
28 May-5 September 2021
Pisa, Opera del Duomo Palace

The occasion of the recent restoration of the dome of the Pisan cathedral, painted by Orazio Riminaldi between 1627 and 1630, gave rise to the idea of the exhibition. A monumental work, painted in oil, not fresco as is sometimes claimed, which depicts the Virgin carried to Heaven by Angels. Until that time it was not possible to admire the painting from below, due to the dirt gradually accumulated on the walls over the decades.

The exhibition highlights, for the first time, the human and artistic path of the Pisan master Orazio Riminaldi (Pisa, 1593-1630), a pupil of the famous Orazio Gentileschi, as well as fascinated in his youth by the stunning novelty of Caravaggio’s painting.

Arrived in Rome around 1615, he became an academic of San Luca, and was part of the third season of the Caravaggesque masters. He was capable of an extremely elegant language, a true synthesis between the Orazio Gentileschi and Guido Reni style. His short life (he died at 37) did not allow him to unleash all his talent, but fortunately his masterpiece is preserved in Pisa, the one that gave him undying fame: the dome of the cathedral.

Over twenty works of Riminaldi are exhibited and his artistic path is recreated starting from his typically Tuscan training up to his meeting with the naturalism of the Caravaggio, followed by a trend towards a more mature classicism. Riminaldi’s paintings from prestigious public collections, the preparatory models for the dome, the Portrait of Curzio Ceuli and the Self-portrait are exhibited.

The exhibition itinerary inside the Opera del Duomo Palace is divided into nine sections that illustrate the Pisan context in which Orazio Riminaldi was trained, then the Roman one (with works by Guido Reni, Giovanni Baglione, Agostino Tassi), finally his first masters, Ranieri Borghetti, Aurelio and Orazio Lomi Gentileschi.

You can admire the extraordinary Madonna and Child by Orazio Gentileschi, a work that is rarely loaned by the Roman museum Gallerie Nazionali d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini, and the Judith with the head of Holofernes and her servant from the Collezione Lemme in Rome.

On display are also important works by masters related to Riminaldi, such as the Santa Cecilia con l’organo portatile by Giuseppe Cesari known as the Cavalier d’Arpino, the San Pietro penitente by Guido Reni and the Santa Cecilia of Guercino, from the Fondazione Sorgente Group.

Other rarities are exhibited in the first rooms: the Sant’Andrea and the San Bartolomeo (Rome, Accademia di San Luca), fragments from a large altarpiece by Bronzino originally placed in the Cathedral of Pisa, but dispersed over the years.

The works chosen are numerous and it is worth mentioning The Sacrifice of Isaac and The Martyrdom of Saints Nereus and Achilleus (Roma, Gallerie Nazionali Barberini Corsini), The Cain and Abel (Firenze, Gallerie degli Uffizi), the Vestizione di Santa Bona (Pisa, church of San Martino), the extraordinary Hercules and Achelous from Paris (Galleria Giovanni Sarti).

At the end of the exhibition space it is possible to visit the cathedral to admire the dome painted by Riminaldi.

The catalogue, published by EDIFIR, illustrates the sections of the exhibition through some critical historical essays. There is a scientific file, with the essential philological and critical information, for each work exhibited, and the final bibliography.

Curators: Pierluigi Carofano, Riccardo Lattuada
Scientific Committee: Franco Angiolini, Stefano Bruni, Veronica Baudo, Alberto Cottino, Marco Ciampolini, Gabriella Garzella, Daria Gastone, Franco Paliaga, Stefano Renzoni, Alessandro Tosi.
Exhibition didactics: Pierluigi Carofano, Tamara Cini
Organised by Opera della Primaziale Pisana