Ancient Ruins, Modern Art
Ettore de Conciliis and Umberto Mastroianni
24 September – 21 December 2014
This stimulating exhibition, spanning two millennia, juxtaposes antiquities from the important archaeological site of Ostia Antica, near Rome, with the work of two modern Italian artists: Umberto Mastroianni (1910-1998) and Ettore de Conciliis (b. 1941).
Founded in the 7th century BC, the ancient harbour city of Ostia was an essential link to the capital of the Roman Empire. At the mouth of the river Tiber, southwest of Rome, the city was a commercial hub and cultural melting pot, equipped with a theatre, baths, bakeries, warehouses, bars and shops. The exhibition includes ancient statuary portraying gods, emperors and evocative scenes of chariot races at the Roman Circus, while a selection of intricate mosaics and two wall paintings from nearby Isola Sacra – Ostia’s cemetery – are among the finest examples from the site.
This exhibition is the largest ever of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body. Leonardo has long been recognised as one of the great artists of the Renaissance, but he was also a pioneer in the understanding of human anatomy. He intended to publish his ground-breaking work in a treatise on anatomy, and had he done so his discoveries would have transformed European knowledge of the subject. But on Leonardo’s death in 1519 the drawings remained a mass of undigested material among his private papers and their significance was effectively lost to the world for almost 400 years.
Today they are among the Royal Collection’s greatest treasures.
Alberto Burri (1915-1995) revolutionised the artistic vocabulary of the post-war art world. During the 1950s his celebration of humble materials such as sacking and tar created a new aesthetic, rich in expressive power, that was later to prove decisive for artists associated with the Arte Povera movement.
Despite his importance, this exhibition is the first major retrospective of the artist’s work to be held in the United Kingdom. It offers a comprehensive overview of Burri’s achievement through works spanning four decades: from rare, figurative pieces of the late 1940s to the ground-breaking abstract works for which he is best known.
Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces before 1500
Date and time
6 July – 2 October 2011
Sainsbury Wing Exhibition
As part of a programme of summer shows focusing on the National Gallery’s collection, ‘Devotion by Design’ explores the function, the original location, and the development of altarpieces in Italy during the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance.
Against Mussolini (22 September- 19 December 2010) brings together works produced in Italy and abroad throughout the Fascist era (1922- 43), but focuses particularly on the period immediately after the dictator’s fall from power following Italy’s disastrous Second World War campaign.