Featured in several national and international exhibitions, Giotto masterwork returns to Museum
Raleigh, N.C.—The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) announces that Giotto di Bondone’s The “Peruzzi Altarpiece,” one of the Museum’s most beloved masterpieces, has returned home after five years of traveling to national and international museum exhibitions and receiving conservation treatments. The work, the only intact Giotto altarpiece outside of Italy, was featured in exhibitions at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, the Vittoriano Complex in Rome, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.
“The altarpiece remained in Raleigh for almost 50 years, and then we had the opportunity to share this masterpiece with audiences in Italy and across North America. We’re glad it’s finally back home for good,” says David Steel, the Museum’s curator of European art. “The altarpiece is one of the most treasured and important works in the Museum’s collection, and we’re excited to have it back on our walls for our visitors to see.”
In 2008 the altarpiece traveled to its “birthplace” of Florence, where it was part of an exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery, Giotto’s Legacy: Art in Florence between 1340 and 1375. Once the exhibition ended, the Giotto remained on view in the Uffizi Gallery until it traveled to an exhibition in Rome.
In 2009 the Giotto was featured in the exhibition Giotto and the Fourteenth Century at the Vittoriano Complex in Rome, which was extended for an extra month by popular demand and was visited by President Obama and the First Lady. Following the two Italian exhibitions, the altarpiece was installed in the Museum’s West Building when it opened in April 2010.
Two years later in November 2012, the Giotto altarpiece was highlighted in an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles titled Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. While at the Getty Museum, the altarpiece received a cosmetic restoration and full technical examination including x-rays, infrared reflectography, and pigment analysis. “The Getty has world-renowned conservation and scientific laboratories, and the Giotto’s visit there was beneficial from both a technical art historical and aesthetic standpoint,” explains William Brown, chief conservator at the NCMA, who spent a month with Getty conservators working on the altarpiece. “It was a terrific opportunity to learn more about Giotto’s working methods on this incredibly significant work of art and to make it even more presentable for our visitors.”
Finally, the altarpiece traveled to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, where it was on display in Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art. After the exhibition closed in mid-June 2013, the Giotto altarpiece completed its journey back home to Raleigh at the NCMA.
The altarpiece is now on view in the Museum’s West Building, and its homecoming has been met with enthusiasm from Museum docents and visitors. Says one NCMA docent, Christine Smith, “There are many extraordinary works of art at the NCMA, but Giotto’s The “Peruzzi Altarpiece” is truly a jewel in the collection. What a thrill that we were able to share this exquisite painting with visitors around the world. Our Italian gallery has felt a little lonely in its absence, and as a docent who loves to show it off on tours, I am delighted to welcome our Giotto back home!”
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About the North Carolina Museum of Art
The North Carolina Museum of Art’s permanent collection spans more than 5,000 years, from ancient Egypt to the present, making the institution one of the premier art museums in the South. The Museum’s collection provides educational, aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural experiences for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. The 164-acre Museum Park showcases the connection between art and nature through site-specific works of environmental art. The Museum offers changing national touring exhibitions, classes, lectures, family activities, films, and concerts.
The Museum opened West Building in 2010, home to the permanent collection. The North Carolina Museum of Art, Lawrence J. Wheeler, director, is located at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh. It is the art museum of the State of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, governor, and an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, Susan Kluttz, secretary.