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True Perfection. The Farnese Cassette of Capodimonte

Milan – In consideration of the appreciation of the public and critics, the exhibition True Perfection has been extended until 25 November. La Cassetta Farnese di Capodimonte in progress at the Gallerie d’Italia – Piazza Scala, Intesa Sanpaolo’s museum and cultural headquarters in Milan.

The exhibition, dedicated to the Cassetta Farnese, a real jewel of art of all times, was inaugurated on 25 September, at the end of Fashion Week, and was due to end on 28 October. The extension will allow the visitor to admire the precious casket in an elegant setting in the historic Caveau of the Bank, open for the occasion, together with the portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese by Titian, until 25 November. At the same time, the Gallerie d’Italia – Piazza Scala will host a major exhibition on Romanticism, which will open on 26 October.

Michele Coppola, Central Director of Art, Culture and Historical Heritage of Intesa Sanpaolo, says: “A deep thanks to the Museum of Capodimonte that allows us to host for another 30 days, in our vault exceptionally open to the public, a work of art that is true perfection and that shows how Italian “know-how” has its roots in the great artistic tradition of our country.

Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Museum and Real Bosco of Capodimonte, declares: “The Cassetta Farnese was the real star of the Fashion Week and this is why we are particularly pleased to extend, at the great request of the Milanese public, the exhibition at the Gallerie d’Italia of this unique masterpiece of sixteenth-century Mannerist goldsmith’s art, undisputed symbol of elegance, refined luxury, artistic creativity and excellent craftsmanship”.

Traditionally exhibited in the Wunderkammer of the Museum and Real Bosco of Capodimonte in Naples, the Cassetta Farnese can be admired for the first time since the recent restoration. The gilded silver casket, richly decorated with chisels and small bas-reliefs with lapis lazuli and engraved rock crystals, was created between 1543 and 1561 by the Florentine silversmith Manno di Bastiano Sbarri, a pupil of Benvenuto Cellini, and by a series of collaborators active in Rome in the fifth decade of the sixteenth century, commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. For the drawings of some scenes, translated into rock crystal by Giovanni Bernardi from Castel Bolognese, he was called Perin del Vaga, who in the same years led the team of decorators in Castel Sant’Angelo, one of the most important Roman shipyards of the sixteenth century.

The box was used as a gift from Cardinal Farnese to Maria d’Aviz of Portugal, who in 1565 married Alessandro Farnese, the future Duke of Parma and Piacenza, the prelate’s nephew and namesake.

The portrait of Cardinal Farnese also comes from the Museum of Capodimonte. The ‘great cardinal’, created at the age of fourteen, was a leading figure in sixteenth-century Rome, known for his great diplomatic skills, and was among the greatest collectors and patrons of his time.

In this context of art and refinement is inserted the contribution of a great master photographer, Giovanni Gastel, who has immortalized in a few shots the splendor of the work.


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