The Petrobelli Altarpiece

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My delicious new sketchbook.

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to see The Petrobelli Altarpiece at the Blanton Museum.

I've always had an intrinsic love and fascination for museums. They're peaceful and beautiful, and I love seeing history right before my eyes. I get all giddy just thinking about it, really. Whenever I'm feeling blue, I go to a museum (whether it be art, history, any kind, I'm not biased to any one sort). They instantly calm me, put me at ease. Perhaps it's the serene quietness that gives my mind room to wander, or because it satiates my never ending love of learning new things. That or the lighting, I don't know, I just love them.

So I was basically a kid in a visually captivating, High Renaissance candy store the other day.

Sorry for the very lame photo that I took with my iPhone, by the way. It clearly doesn't give the altarpiece justice.

If you don't know about the altarpiece, please don't mind if I give you a brief bio that explains the ambiguous gray panels depriving us the whole of the piece, because the history behind it fascinates me.

History Lesson Time! Basically, two Petrobelli cousins, Antonio and Girolamo, commissioned a 35 year old chap in the form of Paolo Veronese (well, really Paolo Caliari but called Paolo Veronese) to paint them a loverly altarpiece for the family chapel in the Church of San Francesco.

So the altar was created (around 1563) and placed above the altar in the church. Until, however, the Venetian government had to go and suppress the church, which was completely destroyed in 1769. The painting landed in the hands of an art dealer named Pietro Concollo, who cut it up and sold it because (a: he wanted to make a profit and b: figured it was just too big to sell in one piece). Yes, as much as I was thinking "What the eff, Pietro?" apparently this wasn't an uncommon deal back in the day.

HENCE the gray panels, the piece is cut up! Even these pieces haven't been reunited for a good two centuries, which is pretty much spectacular to an art history buff like me. And now, where paint should be, is replaced with gray panels.

So I can't help but wonder if I would love this altarpiece so much if it wasn't so ambiguous and denied me the pleasure of seeing all of it. I have to admit, this definitely makes it more endearing, captivating.

Anywho! That is my soapbox on The Petrobelli Altarpiece.

More wonderful history here.


Barb,  February 12, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

You would make a wonderful art history or history teacher, just sayin'

Kevin,  February 19, 2010 at 4:58 PM  

i'm glad i'm not the only kid
who appreciates veronese!

Meg February 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM  

Ah he's SO amazing, Kevin! I just love the stories behind his paintings just as much as I love the paintings themselves :)