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Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes

November 6, 2011 – April 8, 2012
East Building, Ground Floor, Northeast

Antico, Apollo Belvedere, c. 1490, bronze with gilding and silvering, without base: 41.3 x 22 cm (16 1/4 x 8 11/16 in.), with base: 45.2 x 22 cm (17 13/16 x 8 11/16 in.), Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt am Main

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: 35 medals, reliefs, busts, and statuettes by Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacalsi, the Mantuan sculptor and goldsmith known as Antico, were the focus of this exhibition, which included related works by Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini and other contemporaries of the artist. Two sculptures from antiquity that served as models for Antico's work also were on view. The exhibition was the first in the United States devoted to Antico and included more than three-quarters of his known surviving works. Based on a new technical study by National Gallery of Art conservators, text panels explained Antico's complex casting technique for statuettes and his methods of patination, gilding, and silvering. Works in the exhibition were from the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, and other public and private collections in Europe and the United States. The exhibition and accompanying catalog were dedicated to the memory of the late Robert H. Smith, former president of the Gallery and a collector of Antico's works. The exhibition was part of ITALY@150, a series of activities in Washington, DC, and throughout the United States celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

On November 20 the lecture "Antico: The Making of an Exhibition" was presented by Eleonora Luciano, associate curator of sculpture, Dylan Smith, Robert H. Smith Research Conservator, Naomi Remes, exhibition officer, Donna Kirk, senior architect and designer, and Brad Ireland, publishing designer, National Gallery of Art. On February 5 Duo Asteria performed a concert of Renaissance music for voice and lute in honor of the exhibition.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in association with the Frick Collection, New York. Eleanora Luciano, associate curator of sculpture, National Gallery of Art, organized the exhibition in collaboration with Denise Allen, curator, The Frick Collection, New York, and Claudia Kryza-Gersch, curator of Italian sculpture, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Sponsor: The exhibition was made possible by Robert H. and Clarice Smith. It was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Related publication: Antico in Context described works of art on view in West Building galleries relating to Antico, Andrea Mantegna, their patron Isabela d'Este, and others at the courts of Mantua and Ferrara.

Attendance: 68,123 (155 days)

Catalog: Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes, by Eleonora Luciano et al. Washington: National Gallery of Art and New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011.

Other Venues: The Frick Collection, New York, May 1–July 29, 2012

Antico: The Making of an Exhibition
Audio, Released: December 6, 2011, (72:52 minutes)
Press Event: Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes
Audio, Released: November 1, 2011, (1:10:13 minutes)