4 June 2019: Talk from Sir Nicholas Penny on Manfrin and Art Collecting in Italy

The Court Room, Senate House, Malet St. London WC 1 7HU

Tuesday, 4 June 2019, 18:00 -20:00

A remarkable series of books that have appeared over the last twenty years provide a complete picture of art collecting in Venice over four centuries. A major force behind this has been Linda Borean and her most recently published volume, La Galleria Manfrin a Venezia: l’ultima collezione d’arts della Serenissima, provides the pretext for my talk. In addition to reviewing the opportunities for further research which these books have made possible I hope to open for further discussion two topics which are suggested by the Manfrin collection: the “celebrity painting” ( the way in which a figure like Byron was able to influence the fame of a work of art) and the idea of the art collection as an illustration of art history. Sir Nicholas Penny retired as Director of the National Gallery in 2015 and is now teaching at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou as well as cataloguing Italian paintings for the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. His catalogues of the Sixteenth Century Italian paintings in the National Gallery published in 2004, 2008 and 2016 (the last of these with Giorgia Mancini) give an unusual attention to the history of collecting. The topic is also central to Taste and the Antique which he published with Francis Haskell in 1981 and which is now being revised and extended by Eloisa Dodero and Adriano Aymonino.

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