The Duke returns home: Francesco Maria I della Rovere by Tiziano

Italy, Urbania (Pesaro and Urbino) – After 400 years, Duke Francesco Maria I della Rovere returns home, portrayed on canvas by Tiziano Vecellio. It is the heart of the exhibition opened last April 14 in the rooms of the piano nobile of the Palazzo Ducale in Urbania.
The exhibition aims to retrace the “Collections of Della Rovere” enclosed between the end of 1400 and the first decades of 1600 in the rooms of the Palazzo Ducale of Casteldurante, today’s Urbania. Duke Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, who lived during the Renaissance (1490-1538), often said he had a court in Pesaro, a palace in Urbino and a house in Casteldurante. The occasion of the exhibition seems good to be able to say, with good reason, that the “Duke returns home”. Almost four centuries have passed since the transfer of the artistic collections to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany – after the devolution of the Duchy of Urbino to the Papal State in 1631 – there is the possibility of seeing again, in the palace where it was originally preserved, one of the most significant masterpieces of Renaissance painting.
Titian’s painting will also be a precious starting point for a “dossier exhibition”: the main aspects of the ducal artistic collections and the influence exerted by the patronage of the Della Rovere family will be reconstructed, both in the local potters’ workshops and in the architectural interventions involving sacred and civil buildings. In addition to Titian’s canvas, other works will be on display to tell some aspects of collecting that animated the Rovere dynasty, contextualizing the same in the context of important historical events concerning the Italian peninsula that involved, even in the first person, Francesco Maria I Della Rovere both as Duke of Urbino and as Captain General of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. Along the way it will be possible to admire: the “Triumphal Procession of Charles V in Bologna”, an etching by Hogenberg Nicolaus dated 1530, 36 cm high and about 12 metres long; the Terrestrial Sphere (1541) and the Celestial Sphere (1551) by Gerardo Mercatore; without forgetting paintings, books, ceramics, drawings, objects, papers, letters and historical documents.

A section of the exhibition is dedicated to ceramics and represents the various styles, decorations and colors that characterized and made famous Casteldurante between ‘400 and ‘500 around the world. The group of majolicas on display are part of the rich artistic heritage of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia, which lent them for the occasion in Urbania.
The exhibition itinerary will also be developed outside the main floor of the Palazzo Ducale in Urbania. Complementary and integrated to the exhibition is a visit to the various rooms, which allows visitors to discover the seat of the ancient court with the main room, the scenic walk on the Metauro River by architect Gerolamo Genga who worked in the most beautiful rooms of the palace durantino. In addition to the external visit of the imposing architectural work that is spread over several floors in the historic center of the town, another stop is at the church of Corpus Christi in Urbania, for the frescoes and paintings of the artist Raffaelino del Colle.
The exhibition project crowns the research and studies carried out since 1990 on the collections, heritage and cultural heritage of the Della Rovere family in the ancient Duchy of Urbino. In recent years, in fact, research and studies have been conducted on various aspects of the culture of Rovere through conferences, exhibitions, restorations and a series of publications. From this complex of activities, both the Della Rovere picture gallery and the printed bookshop in Casteldurante (Urbania since 1636), both located in the Palazzo Ducale Durantino, where the Della Rovere court was located until 1631, take on particular importance.
The exhibition comes on the occasion of the restoration of the two courtyards of the Doge’s Palace, a project funded by the Marche Region with European funds allocated to the enhancement of the Renaissance “The arts and history in the age of Francesco Maria I Della Rovere in Casteldurante”.
The exhibition, commissioned by the City of Urbania and the Library and Museums of the Doge’s Palace, is in collaboration with the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Polo Museale delle Marche, the Marche Region, the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pesaro and the Unione Montana Alta Valle del Metauro. The scientific committee for the exhibition is composed of illustrious scholars, coordinated by John Spike and Fausta Navarro.
“Francesco Maria I della Rovere di Tiziano” will be inaugurated on 14 April at 11 a.m. at the Bramante Theatre, and will close on 14 July. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published for the QuattroVenti editions of the University of Urbino.


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