In the Light of Naples: The Art of Francesco de Mura will be the first-ever exhibition of the art of Francesco de Mura (1696–1782)—arguably the greatest painter of the Golden Age of Naples. The Cornell Museum owns a major painting by De Mura, The Visitation, which is the impetus for this show
Francesco de Mura, the indisputable leader in his day of the Neapolitan School and the favorite of the reigning Bourbon King Charles VII, was the chief painter of decorative cycles to emerge from the studio of Francesco Solimena (1657–1747), the celebrated Baroque artist. De Mura’s refined and elegant compositions, with their exquisite, light, and airy colors, heralded the rococo in Naples, and his later classicistic style led to Neo-Classicism. De Mura’s ceiling frescoes rivaled those of his celebrated Venetian contemporary, Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770). Yet, today, he lacks his proper place in the history of art. This show seeks to answer why this is so: If he was so celebrated and admired in his lifetime, why is De Mura so little known today?
The exhibition—which, in 2017, will travel to the Chazen Museum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Loeb Art Center at Vassar College—will feature more than 40 works by De Mura from such collections as Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Art Institute, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and other public and private collections. In addition, there will be loans from Naples, Paris, and London.
Included will be the Cornell Museum’s recently acquired Solimena painting, as well as the Cornell’s newly identified oil by a follower of Solimena. Dr. Arthur Blumenthal, Director Emeritus of the Cornell, is the Guest Curator of the show, which will have a scholarly catalogue with essays by such art historians as Nicola Spinosa, former Superintendent of the National Museums in Naples and foremost expert on De Mura. Through De Mura’s original creations in the exhibition, the Cornell will finally be giving this richly deserving Neapolitan artist—the last Baroque artist—his due.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website