The Corsini Collection: A Window On Renaissance Florence | Auckland Art Gallery

Friday, 17 November 2017


Wednesday was the day in which I finally went and marvelled at the current exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery. The Corsini Collection: A Window On Renaissance Florence truly excited me as it's very rare (not at all) that works from this time period actually go on tour let alone come here. The Italian Renaissance was basically my main area of interest at uni, I did my dissertation on a series of Renaissance works by Titian. As surmised by the name of the exhibition the works are from the collection of the Corsini family who were a family of prominence in Florence. A contemporary family of theirs was the Medici who I first studied all the way back in high school. I don't recall ever hearing about the Corsini family which is interesting given how influential they were in Florence.

The first three rooms were kind of in chronological order. The first thing you see is the Corsini family tree and starts off with the Renaissance and moves towards the Baroque period. As well as paintings there were examples of cookware as well as 19th-century costumes members of the family wore which was amazing. A dining table was set up in one room which was accompanied by operatic music and there were also drawings & prints from the collection. The last room of the exhibition nicely combined the two worlds with works from the gallery collection displayed which tied into the rest of the exhibition.

Photography (not flash) was allowed so I took a couple of pictures of the works I loved the most.


Copy, preparatory sketch of 'Portrait of Pope Julius II della Rovere' by Raphael. 1511-12


'Saint Simon' by Tintoretto, c. 1585


'Saint Andrea Corsini' by Guercino, 1630

As you can see from the title the Corsini family can boast about having a family member made a saint. Another thing about the painting are the obvious bullet holes, I overheard the story from a tour that was happening. So during WW2 the Nazi's just took artworks from museums & homes. To combat this Princess Elena Corsini drove a truck with the paintings to the family villa of Le Corti. They were hidden behind a false wall and this painting was hung on it to protect the collection. When the Germans arrived they saw the wet plaster and having not enough time to dismantle the wall they shot at it believing people to be in the room. None of the paintings inside were damaged so the family saint really did protect them. 


'Madonna and Child with Six Angels' by Botticelli and Workshop, c. 1500


'Portrait of Maffeo Barberini' by Caravaggio, c. 1597


Costume worn by Anna Barberini Corsini, 1887


Unsurprisingly I highly recommend this exhibition, it's absolutely amazing to see works of artists I studied throughout my time at university. I loved it so much I even bought the exhibition catalogue, so now I can just flick through the book and reminisce.

The exhibition is on until 21 January 2018 and the admission is $19 for adults.

Have you seen the Corsini exhibition?

Ashley xx

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