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Exhibitions at the Accademia Gallery

Carlo Portelli, An Eccentric Painter between Rosso Fiorentino and Vasari

December 22, 2015 – June 30, 2016 ** extended **

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Carlo Portelli, Allegory of the Immaculate Conception, signed and dated 1566, wood panel – Florence, Galleria dell’Accademia

This exhibition is devoted to Carlo Portelli, a Florentine painter who reveals his highly advanced mastery of the “modern manner” at the height of the 16th century. The many paintings found around the David in the Accademia’s Tribuna in this style include a monumental altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception by Carlo Portelli dated 1566 from the church of Ognissant, considered by many as his masterpiece.

Yet this painter’s work has never received the critical acclaim it deserves, despite being the recipient of important commissions in his own day and one of the artists most active in the large decorative schemes commissioned by the House of Medici.

His paintings are often crowded with figures, as we can see in his Immaculate Conception in the Accademia itself and, to an even greater extent, in his tortured Martyrdom of St. Romulus in Fiesole. The selection of works by the artist will reveal his tireless search for a refined, complex elegance. One of his latest works in Florence can also be admired at Palazzo Vecchio, within the Prince’s Study just off the Salone dei Cinquecento.

The exhibition, with about fifty paintings, drawings and documents, sets out not only to enhance the Galleria dell’Accademia’s own altarpiece but to encourage the crowds that daily visit the gallery to discover an artist hitherto known only to the experts, when in fact he deserves far wider appreciation for his originality, his imagination and his ability to translate inventive concepts into painting in the manner of Vasari.

Carlo Portelli, Charity, 1550-1560, wood panel – Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado.

See also: Past Exhibitions