The Current Exhibit

The concept of exhibition

Palazzo Barberini

The National Gallery of Antique Art in Barberini Palace (Palazzo Barberini), in cooperation with the company “Beni culturali” and with the support of The Sir Denis Mahon Charitable Trust, organizes cultural event dedicated to the great works of the Italian Baroque style, and Sir Denis Mahon, who recently was a great scholar and internationally known art connoisseur.

The project, coordinated by Mina Gregori, is implemented with the invaluable help of Mahon Foundation and supported by tits outstanding colleagues. In the realization of this ambitious project, Mina Gregori will work closely with Anna Koliva, the Director of the Galleria Borghese, and Sergei Androsov, the Director of the Western European Fine Art Department in the Hermitage.

The exhibition was conceived by Sir Denis Mahon, who expressd his desire to Mina Gregori and the Director of «Beni Culturali» Roberto Celli in 2009 to celebrate his 100 years, along with paintings that accompanied his life, the masterpieces, which he collected and donated to the most prestigious international museums, and among which many priceless discoveries from Guercino, to Caravaggio and Poussin can be found.

As well said Nicholas Penny, the Director of the National Gallery in London: “Private Collection of Sir Denis Mahon is the most public one of all existing”; thanks to his sense of philanthropy and civic duty, Denis Mahon gave his collections to public institutions, thus they might be available for unlimited number of people.

Exhibition is first of all a tribute to the great gentleman of art history, which with an inimitable sense of tact and British pragmatism had a strong influence on the revision of the Italian art of the early seventeenth century.

The exhibition will present a target selection of paintings from discoveries and studies of Mahon in the Italian art of the seventeenth century, which have contributed significantly to its revaluation at the international level since the 30s of the last century to the present rime. In many cases, the research of Sir Denis Mahon allowed to explain the “way of performance” of some artists, including Caravaggio, which currently represent the cultural heritage of the most famous museums in the world.

At the same time it should be noted that Mahon had strong interest in paintings made by Caravaggio, thus it is of high importance to highlight the critical position of Sir Mahon at the exhibition, which is close to those of the great Italian “specialist” of this artist, Roberto Longhi.

The exhibition catalog includes a variety of testimonies and studies of Caravaggio masterpieces as well as the essay of Mina Gregori on close relationships between Mahon and Longhi and dense correspondence between the two art historians, ardent supporters of the Baroque style.

Being in love with Italy, Mahon was also interested in other Italian artists such as Nicola Poussin, which will be presented at the exhibition through the masterpieces provided by well-known Italian and foreign museums to close the private collection of Mahon, which focuses on Italian artists of the seventeenth century.

The exhibition will introduce 40 absolute masterpieces, not only belonging to the collection of Mahon, being an important part of the National Art Gallery of Bologna, but also several paintings of Poussin, Guercino and Carracci from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

There will be also a large group of masterpieces of extraordinary cultural value, that miraculously have been saved from the destruction of the earthquakein 2012 in Emilia and which were discovered and loved by Sir Denis Mahon during his trips to Italy.