Little known in France outside a circle of initiated enthousiasts, Vittore Ghislandi, who became a monk under the name of Fra'Galgario, was one of the most unusual XVIII century Italian artists, and one of the greatest portrait painters of his time. In association with the Carrara Academy of Bergamo, the Musée des Augustins presents 70 paintings originating from Northern Italy. Many of these paintings come for the first time from private collections, as well as prominent French and European museums.
A deep concern for the accuracy of his characters
In Bergamo, which he seldom left, Fra Galgario was the portrait painter of high profile aristocratic families. His style is inimitable and his works are immediately recognisable. Regardless of social criticism, the ruthless nature of truth and objectivity is marked in certain portraits by an icy coldness. However, sometimes, the painter's sympathy for his model is conveyed by the warmth and complicity of his approach to character, which is all the more sensitive in his favourite subjects: young people in the process of painting. The artist is also represented in several poignant self-portraits.
The portrait in Europe in the XVII and XVIII century.
After a tour retracing the evolution of his work, where obviously his style become freer, with a nervous and spontaneous brush-stroke, the four final exhibition rooms show Fra' Galgario's work in context, evoking the important trends of the portrait in Europe between Absolutism and the Century of Enlightenment. Around the major themes of inspiration - the state portrait, childhood, the informal portrait and the artist's portrait - great works by French inventors of the state portrait, Rigaud and Larguillière, are displayed, alongside prominent European portrait painters such as Crespi, Ricci and Kupezky. These confrontations succeed in demonstrating the artist's high standard of originality in his time and the modernity of his art.
Exhibition guide by Axel Hèmery 80 pages, ill. 21 x 27 cm , bound Published by the Musée des Augustins 15€uros