The master of the “great” figures of the Renaissance, including Raphael and Michelangelo, will be the protagonist of a major retrospective in his hometown, accompanied by thematic itineraries and many events.
On the occasion of the five hundred years since the passing of Luca Signorelli (Cortona, circa 1445 – 1523), from June 23rd to October 22nd, 2023, the city of Cortona pays tribute to its most illustrious painter with the exhibition “Signorelli 500. Maestro Luca da Cortona, painter of light and poetry” at the Museum of the Etruscan Academy and the City of Cortona. The exhibition brings together around thirty works by the artist from prestigious Italian and international museums, including significant loans from private collections and overseas, marking the first time in seventy years that such a display has taken place in the city of Luca. This will be a valuable opportunity to further establish Luca da Cortona among the great artists of his time, considering the recent studies conducted in the field.
Promoted by the Municipality of Cortona and the Etruscan Academy of Cortona, under the auspices of the National Committee for the celebrations established by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, organized by Villaggio Globale International, and curated by Tom Henry, Professor Emeritus at the University of Kent and former Director of the School of Classical and Renaissance Studies at the British School in Rome, the exhibition focuses on the pictorial production of Luca Signorelli. Its aim is to retrace the artist’s career, highlighting the strength of his use of color, the scope and originality of his inventions, which were highly admired by Vasari, the narrative power of his works, and his ability to surpass his contemporaries, becoming “a beacon for the great masters of the Renaissance”. The dispersion of Signorelli’s works in numerous locations and sites in Italy and abroad, starting from the astonishing cycles of frescoes that made him famous, has made it challenging to grasp an overall view of his artistic journey.
From the Uffizi Galleries in Florence to the Capodimonte National Museum in Naples, from the Jacquemart-André Foundation in Paris to the National Gallery in London, from the Museum of the Opera del Duomo in Orvieto to the Municipal Art Gallery in Sansepolcro, and even from the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the paintings on display have been selected based on their exceptionally high quality and represent every decade of Signorelli’s artistic career. The exhibition begins with one of his earliest works, still influenced by and under the guidance of Piero della Francesca, which comes from a private collection in New York.
The exhibition presents several exciting novelties, including the reconstruction, to the extent possible, of the Matelica Altarpiece. Created between 1504 and 1505 for the Church of Sant’Agostino in Matelica, the altarpiece was dismantled and dispersed around the world in the mid-18th century. Another highlight is the presence of two precious panels depicting the Nativity and the Miracle of St. Nicholas (circa 1508-1510), returning to Italy for the first time from the United States of America (Atlanta). Furthermore, the exhibition reunites, for the first time in modern times, the central panel of the Polyptych of the Church of Santa Lucia in Montepulciano, depicting the Madonna and Child on a throne, along with the corresponding predella composed of three panels on loan from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. In these works, Signorelli displays his narrative prowess. In fact, the power of imagination and visual invention are rare qualities attributed to the great artist, recognized not only by his contemporary courtier, painter, and poet Giovanni Santi, who described the Cortonese artist as having a lively intellect, but also by the eminent biographer Vasari. Vasari, in addition to Filippino Lippi, explicitly referred to Signorelli’s imaginative ability as an artist of the 15th century, particularly noting his frescoes in the Orvieto Cathedral. According to Vasari, Signorelli was “the person who, with the foundation of design and nude figures in particular, and with the grace of invention and arrangement of stories, opened the path to the highest perfection of art for most artisans”.
The exhibition is complemented by the Signorelli Itineraries, both within the city and in particular at the Diocesan Museum and the Church of San Niccolò, as well as in the Tuscan and Umbrian locations that preserve important testimonies of the Master. These itineraries, desired and promoted by the organizers, are considered a fundamental aspect to complete the exhibition. Agreements and collaborations have been established with the municipalities and institutions involved, creating an important network that will give life to a territorial enhancement of the great Renaissance painter, with Cortona as the center. This network is intended to endure over time, supported by a specific guide accompanying the exhibition catalog (both published by Skira), maps, facilities, and much more. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a rich program of related events, starting from March, including conferences, concerts, lectures, and more. These events will explore Signorelli’s life and work within the historical and cultural context of central Italy during the transition from the 15th to the 16th century.
Every day from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Regular / € 10,00
Reduced / € 7,00
Reduced for school groups / € 3,00
• The reduced ticket is available for the following categories: groups of more than 15 people, families of at least 4 people, children aged 7 to 12, holders of the Unicoop Firenze membership card, holders of the Conad card, holders of the Edumusei Card, holders of the Musei Senesi Card, FAI members, holders of the Carta dello Studente universitario della Toscana (Tuscany University Student Card), holders of the ticket for the Fortezza Medicea di Cortona or the Museo Civico La Città Sotterranea di Chiusi, holders of a single-journey ticket from Trenitalia (regional trains or Frecciarossa trains with destination Camucia-Cortona or Terontola-Cortona, valid up to two days prior to the entry date), holders of a regional subscription from Trenitalia (also with cross-regional application, in force and valid, with origin and/or destination at any station in Umbria or Tuscany).
• The free ticket is available for the following categories: schools in the Municipality of Cortona, people with disabilities and their companions, children aged 0 to 6, accompanying teachers of school groups (maximum 2 teachers), tourist guides carrying their identification card, ICOM members, professional journalists, MiC officials with their identification card.
Ticket office contacts:
+39 0575 630415