Lux aeterna. Italian Art from Johannes Mikkel’s Collection
For the art collectors of earlier generations, Italy was respected and most attractive as the birthplace of the Renaissance and bearer of the art legacy of antique culture.
As a classical art collector, Johannes Mikkel was also greatly interested in Italian art and it comprises a sizeable portion of his collection. Although not very large numerically, the collection encompasses the period from the early 16th to the mid-19th century. Along with Estonian paintings and graphic art, the collection includes truly extraordinary examples of Italian applied art.
The exhibition focuses on the artistically and culturally valuable prints from Mikkel’s high-quality collection of Italian graphic art, of which the prints by Renaissance-era artists (Agostino Veneziano and others) and Giovanni Battista Piranesi should be highlighted.
An intriguing section of the exhibition is comprised of paintings related to the Italian school, which Mikkel associated with the greatest names in art history (Titian, Reni, Correggio and others), and he therefore gave them extremely high assessments. Although the collector’s attributions did not correspond to reality and many questions related to them are still unanswered, these works are very interesting artistically. The most noteworthy are three religious works: Manifestation of Mary Magdalene, Mary Magdalene with the Crucifix, and Madonna with Child.
In the exhibition, the works by Italian masters are complemented by the oeuvre of artists associated with Italy. After all, Italy is a country with an extremely rich cultural heritage, the home to great artists and a region with picturesque nature and colourful everyday life. Pilgrims and tourists have made trips there. Others have gone to study there. People have worked there temporarily or for their entire lives. Marvelling at the local landscape, inspired by the sights and depicting shepherds or beggars, they all in their way have reflected the eternal light of the Italian spirit – the lux aeterna.
The exhibition will be open at the Mikkel Museum until 1 March 2015.
The exhibition visuals are available in the Art Museum of Estonia’s digital collection.
Curator: Anu Allikvee
Graphic identity and design of the exhibition, and book design: Peeter Laurits
Exhibition calligrapher: Nestor Ljutjuk (Tallinn School of Calligraphy)
Kadriorg Art Museum
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