Thursday, December 5, 2013

One Collector -- Day 2/327

Walk:  de Young Museum
Distance: 1 mile and small yoga practice  (hard to get motivated this time year)

File:Pannini, Giovanni Paolo - Interior of a Picture Gallery with the Collection of Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga - 1740.jpg

Giovanni Paolo Pannini (Italian 1691-1765) Interior of a Picture Gallery with the Collection of Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga, 1749; 198.1 x 268 cm, oil on canvas; Wadsworth Atheneum.

During today's art lecture at the de Young today a slide of this painting came onto the screen and shocked me right into the present.  The man in the center is Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga.  Again, Cardinal. He is standing in the midst of his art collection which actually was much more substantial than the works crawling up all his walls and traversing the coved ceiling.

So many questions and reactions jumped to consciousness.  The history of corrupt and grasping ecclesiastics within the Catholic Church, the gaudiness of Rococo excess, intemperate materialism and collecting for three.  But the painting also touches on the positive: the bedrock necessity of such patronage to artists, the place of art in the life of the spirit and how church art and architecture uplifts even the most humble, the prime importance of the church in commissioning centuries of splendid art and architecture. 

These and so many other thoughts about the concurrent luxury and necessity of art as well as the expense of it to artist and patron alike came to ciwt's mind.  I could easily imagine a lecture just on this painting and all its tentacles.  But on we went with the topic of the day, frames - which had its host of tentacles.  

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