‘Mantegna and Bellini’, National Gallery, London, 1 October 2018 - 27 January 2019

Laura Scalabrella Spada

Abstract


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The ambitious exhibition ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ was held in London at the National Gallery from October 2018 to January 2019. Tracing the career of the two artists, it displayed, over six rooms, a large number of paintings and drawings, following a chronological structure. The main curatorial strategy consisted in juxtaposing paintings of similar content in order to compare and contrast the different styles and iconological concerns of the two artists. Despite the exhibition’s potential, however, its art historical scope remained restrictive: captions insisted on questions of attribution and patronage, constantly referring to nebulous canons of renaissance ‘beauty’. Such perspective, eventually, seemed to reinforce a problematic rhetoric of intellectualism rather than expanding the artworks’ interpretative possibilities.

 

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