Roberto Longhi (Alba, 1890 – Florence, 1970), who spearheaded the rediscovery of Caravaggio (1571–1610), is a seminal figure of 20th century Italian art history.
Longhi focused his expert historian’s eye on the Quattrocento’s great artists including Giotto (ca. 1266/67–1337), Masolino (1383–ca. 1440), Masaccio (1401–ca. 1428), Piero della Francesca (ca. 1415 – 1492) and Caravaggio. He was also open to contemporary art and was a close associate of artists such as Morandi (1890–1964). Longhi’s writings provided a fresh look at the great eras in Italian painting.
Between March and July 2015, the Musée Jacquemart-André will celebrate Roberto Longhi’s Italian passions. Based on a selection of works, the catalogue will focus on two key areas of Longhi’s studies – the Quattrocento and Caravaggio and his imitators.
The volume’s opening section, written by the Roberto Longhi Foundation, is devoted to Caravaggio’s work, including Boy Bitten by a Lizard. Caravaggio, who revolutionised 16th century Italian art with his powerful naturalist paintings and striking chiaroscuro effects, was one of the focal points of Longhi’s work.
Faithful to the spirit of Longhi’s approach, the volume compares and contrasts works by Caravaggio and his imitators, showing how the artist’s themes and style influenced his contemporaries, both in Italy and later, throughout Europe.
Several Quattrocento masterpieces – including four major paintings by Giotto, Masolino, Masaccio and Piero della Francesca, whose work is rarely exhibited in France – serve as a reminder of how Roberto Longhi shed fresh light on the early Italian Renaissance masters.
This is a rich and powerful exhibition that retraces key periods in Italian art history thanks to the work of Roberto Longhi, a scholarly and passionate man who embodied Panofsky’s definition of a connoisseur.
Accompanies the exhibition of the same name at the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris, 27 March 2015 – 20 July 2015.