The NCMA’s Giotto altarpiece is now hanging in the greatest single gallery of early Italian paintings anywhere in the world: Room #2 of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The room features altarpieces by Giotto, his master Cimabue, and his slightly older contemporary, the great Sienese master Duccio. These three paintings are the “Holy Trinity” of early Renaissance painting. It’s fantastic to see our painting hanging among such distinguished company and enjoyed by thousands of visitors from across the globe. (Photo illustration: Our Peruzzi altarpiece, flanked by Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna on the left and Giotto’s monumental Ognissanti Madonna on the right. Snapshots courtesy of our friend Livia–Grazie!)
This is the first time since it joined our collection that the Giotto has been allowed to travel. (It’s one of the most important early Renaissance paintings in the U.S., so its no wonder that we don’t like to let it out of our sight.) Last summer, though, the altarpiece flew across the pond to take part in “The Legacy of Giotto: Art in Florence between 1340 and 1375“, a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery. (It was a bit of a homecoming, as the altarpiece was most likely painted for the Peruzzi chapel in Santa Croce, just a short walk from the Uffizi.) In March it will travel to Rome to be included in the exhibition “Giotto and the Trecento,” (translation) at the Complesso Monumentale del Vittoriano (in the ground floor of the Victor Emmanuel Monument–a.k.a. “The Typewriter” or “The Wedding Cake”). Another of the Museum’s early Italian treasures, the Crucifixion by Giotto’s follower Puccio Capanna, will also be lent to that exhibition.
If you are planning to visit Florence in the next week, or Rome between March 6 and June 28, stop by and say “Ciao Giotto!” And, if you get a chance, snap a photo in the gallery and send it to us (or upload it to Flickr and add it to our new NCMA Flickr group.) The altarpiece will be on view in our new building when it opens it April, 2010.