“Italy’s best Maestro”. Perugino and his day
4 March— 11 June 2023

“Italy’s best Maestro”. Perugino and his day

Curated by Marco Pierini and Veruska Picchiarelli

From 4 March to 11 June 2023, on the occasion of the fifth centennial of his death, the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia will be holding a major exhibition to celebrate Pietro Vannucci (c. 1450-1523), the most important painter active in the last two decades of the fifteenth century.

Entitled “Italy’s best Maestro”. Perugino and his day and curated by Marco Pierini, Director of the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia, and Veruska Picchiarelli, a conservator at the same museum, the exhibition will employ Perugino’s greatest masterpieces, all previous to 1504, the moment when he reached the pinnacle of his extraordinary career, with the aim of restoring the role of artistic pre-eminence that the public and his contemporary age once assigned to an artist who was an unquestioned protagonist of the Renaissance.

2023 will go down as the year of Perugino.

The exhibition will be the flagship event of the centennial celebrations, which are co-ordinated by a National Committee established by the Ministry of Culture and chaired by Ilaria Borletti Buitoni and will involve some of the leading museums in Italy and worldwide, such as the Uffizi in Florence and the National Gallery of Washington, in a fully-fledged scientific partnership.

The event is the ideal complement to the project of historical and critical analysis of the creative itinerary of Perugino, launched in 2004 by the National Gallery of Umbria, which holds the greatest number of works by the maestro, with an exhibition that focused its investigations primarily on the last twenty years of his career.

The curators of this exhibition, which will feature more than seventy works, decided to focus exclusively on Perugino’s paintings executed before 1504, the year when he worked on three commissions that marked the pinnacle of his career: the Crucifixion painted for the Chigi Chapel in the church of Sant’Agostino in Siena, the Battle between Love and Chastity, previously in Mantua and now in the Louvre in Paris, and above all the Marriage of the Virginfor the Chapel of the Holy Ring in the Cathedral of Perugia, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Caen (France).

The exhibition aims to give as complete an account as possible of the fundamental milestones in Perugino’s career: from his early work in Andrea del Verrocchio’s workshop to the major enterprises in Florence that made his name and fortune (such as the three panels previously in the church of San Giusto alle Mura and now in the Uffizi, or the San Domenico Altarpiece in Fiesole) and from his extraordinary portraits to his monumental altarpieces, such as the Galitzin Triptych, now in the National Gallery in Washington, and the Polyptych for the Pavia Charterhouse, most of which is now in the National Gallery in London, but which has now been recomposed on the exceptional occasion of this event.

The exhibition will reflect the role actually played by Perugino on his contemporary artistic scene, detailing the relationships he cultivated with the other great masters of the day and following his movements and those of his works across the length and breadth of Italy. It is surprising to discover what lasting marks Perugino left of his mastery in all the localities in the peninsula that were touched by his activity, from north to south, obviously starting from Umbria and Tuscany, the most outstanding arenas of his work, as well as the homes of his workshops in Perugia and Florence.

The catalogue will feature contributions from the leading specialists in the painter, tracing the milestones of Perugino’s career, from his early training to his return to Umbria at the beginning of the sixteenth century, with introductory essays designed to furnish a comprehensive description of the maestro’s times, detailing their history, the prevailing mindsets, places and spaces. Ample space will be reserved for the Directors and curators of the collections to which the works offered on loan belong, so as to highlight the choral character of an undertaking that has come about primarily as a result of an effective collaboration with such major institutions as the Uffizi, the National Gallery of Washington, the National Gallery in London, the Louvre in Paris and the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.


Opening times: every day from 8.30 to 19.30 (last access 18.30)

The visit to the exhibition is included in the entrance ticket of the Gallery (full € 10; reduced € 2 – 18-25 years; free up to 18 years – for free discounts and category click here)

To organize the visit for groups it is mandatory to contact the ticket service of the museum ( tel 075.5721009 – gnu@sistemamuseo.it)

Ticket Office/Bookshop Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria

tel. 075.5721009 – email gnu@sistema museo.it

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email gallerianazionaleumbria@cultura.gov.it

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