The Italian Courts: The House of Este

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A unique opportunity to admire several masterpieces from the collections of the House of Este from Galleria Estense in Modena – still closed after the devastating earthquake of 2012 – and other prestigious Italian and European museums.

The exhibition illustrates the role and the prominence of the House of Este at the time of their rule over Ferrara – the original seat and capital of the first Este dominion – and Modena – the new capital since 1598, after the Ferrara territory was returned to the Pope.

The art works were carefully selected to represent the dynasty’s collections and their major decorative undertakings. Thus the exhibition takes the visitor on a fascinating journey from the Renaissance and Duke Alfonso I (1505-1534) – who commissioned works to Titian and Dosso Dossi as well as the legendary “alabaster rooms” (camerini d’alabastro) in the Castle of Ferrara – to the Baroque splendor of Francesco I (1629-1658).

The display also celebrates the flourishing literary and musical production of the time, evoked here by the famous Este harp.

Duke Francesco, whose image is widely associated with European art thanks to magnificent portraits by Velázquez and Bernini, brought Modena up to par with the international capitals of other kingdoms and turned the Rocca di Sassuolo into a modern, breath-taking “delight” by engaging the finest artists and decorators like Jean Boulanger; at the same time, a Picture Gallery was added to the Ducal Palace in Modena, that is still home to masterpieces by, among others, Correggio, Tintoretto, Guido Reni and Guercino which, in addition to Titian, Dosso Dossi, Velázquez, Jean Boulanger and others, will be on display at Venaria Reale.

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