The Mystery of Palladio’s Face has been installed along with the permanent exhibits in the rooms of the Palladio Museum in the Palazzo Barbarano, a whole building devoted to narrating the great Renaissance architect’s life and work.
We have no official portrait of Palladio. In 1716 some English publishers came up with a fake portrait, passed off as a work by Paolo Veronese. In 1733 the Italians responded with a balding, bearded Palladio, copied from a portrait kept in the Villa Rotonda but then lost in 1849.
Is the face of Palladio we are accustomed to seeing true or fake? The exhibition explores the mystery of various faces of Palladio in twelve works from the United States, Europe and Russia, loaned by major international museums and collections.
The exhibition has been laid out like a detective story. Accompanying the works, there are light tables with clues for the investigations: radiographs of the paintings, stratigraphic sections, photos and documents. The Italian State Forensic Department has even been called in to help with the enquiry by analysing and comparing the facial features and using age-progression techniques.
Exhibition curator Guido Beltramini worked together with a research group chaired by Howard Burns, and including Donata Battilotti, Stefano Grandesso, Charles Hind, Fulvio Lenzo, Fabrizio Magani, Francesco Marcorin, Fernando Marías, Fernando Rigon Forte, Barbara Savy.
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