Moroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture at The Frick Collection, February 21 – June 2, 2019

In Renaissance Italy, one of the aims of portraiture was to make the absent seem present through naturalistic representation of the sitter. This notion—that art can capture an individual exactly as he or she appears—is exemplified in the work of Giovanni Battista Moroni. The artist spent his entire career in and around his native Bergamo, a region in Lombardy northeast of Milan, and left a corpus of portraits that far outnumbers those of his contemporaries who worked in major artistic centers, including Titian in Venice and Bronzino in Florence. Though Moroni never achieved their fame, he innovated the genre of portraiture in spectacular ways. This winter and spring, the Frick presents the first major exhibition in North America devoted to his work, bringing together nearly two dozen of Moroni’s most arresting and best known portraits from international collections to explore the innovations and experiments that belie his masterful illusion of recording reality. They will be shown alongside a selection of complementary objects—Renaissance jewelry, textiles, arms and armor, and other luxury items—that exemplify the material and visual world that Moroni recorded, embellished, and transformed.” — The Frick Collection

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Isotta Brembati, ca. 1555–56. Oil on canvas, 63 x 45 1/4 inches. Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni, Bergamo – Lucretia Moroni Collection. Photo: Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni, Bergamo

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Portrait of a Young Woman, ca. 1575. Oil on canvas, 20 3/8 x 16 3/8 inches. Private collection. Photo: Michael Bodycomb

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Giovanni Gerolamo Grumelli, called Il Cavaliere in Rosa (The Man in Pink), dated 1560. Oil on canvas, 85 x 48 3/8 inches. Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni, Bergamo – Lucretia Moroni Collection. Photo: Mauro Magliani

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Lucia Albani Avogadro, called La Dama in Rosso (The Lady in Red), ca. 1554–57. Oil on canvas, 61 x 42 inches. The National Gallery, London. Photo: © The National Gallery, London

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Faustino Avogadro, called Il Cavaliere dal Piede Ferito (The Knight with the Wounded Foot), ca. 1555–60. Oil on canvas, 79 5/8 x 41 7/8 inches. The National Gallery, London Photo: © The National Gallery, London

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Lucrezia Agliardi Vertova, dated 1557. Oil on canvas, 36 x 27 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Lay Brother with Fictive Frame, ca. 1557. Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 19 7/8 inches. Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Bernardo Spini, ca.1573-75. Oil on canvas, 77 1/2 x 38 5/8 inches. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. Photo: Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Pace Rivola Spini, ca. 1573-75. Oil on canvas, 77 1/2 x 38 5/8 inches. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. Photo: Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Alessandro Vittoria, ca. 1551. Oil on canvas, 32 1/2 x 25 5/8 inches. Gemäldegalerie, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband

Giovanni Battista Moroni. The Tailor (Il Sarto, or Il Tagliapanni), ca. 1570. Oil on canvas, 39 1/8 x 30 1/4 inches. The National Gallery, London. Photo: © The National Gallery, London

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Bust of Isotta Brembati, ca. 1550. Oil on canvas, 21 5/8 x 18 1/2 inches. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. Photo: Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Bust Portrait of a Young Man with an Inscription, ca. 1560. Oil on canvas, 18 5/8 x 15 5/8 inches. The National Gallery, London; Layard Bequest, 1916. Photo: © The National Gallery, London

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Portrait of a Gentleman and His Two Children, ca.1572-1575. Oil on canvas, 49 3/8 x 38 5/8 inches. National Gallery of Ireland Collection, Dublin; Purchased, 1866. Photo: © National Gallery of Ireland

Giovanni Battista Moroni. Giovanni Bressani, dated 1562. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 inches. National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Purchased by Private Treaty, 1977. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland

Moroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture was organized by Aimee Ng, Associate Curator, The Frick Collection; Simone Facchinetti, Curator, Museo Adriano Bernareggi, Bergamo; and Arturo Galansino, Director General, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence. 

Images courtesy The Frick Collection.