Travelling outside of Italy for the first time in 500 years, the exhibition ‘A Window on Italy – The Corsini Collection: Masterpieces from Florence’ touched down in Australia at the end of February and will be on display until June 19.
Hosted by the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA), the exhibition showcases the private art collection of Florence’s Corsini family, one of Italy’s leading families since the 12th century.
Featuring Renaissance and Baroque paintings by Italian artists such as Botticelli, Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Pontormo, these extraordinary works of art have been preserved over centuries, surviving the devastation of World War II and the infamous flooding of the Arno in 1966.
The exhibition includes portraits, landscapes, mythological and religious paintings, and fascinating decorative objects and furniture from the Palazzo Corsini.
A long list of events and activities are running in conjunction with the exhibition, including a series of adult singing workshops hosted by West Australian Opera.
With the first workshop already completed in March, three more are set to unfold over the course of the exhibition.
During the classes – which will take place on April 15, May 20 and June 17 – patrons will be introduced to a range of Italian repertoire inspired by the Corsini family’s art collection.
The repertoire includes Italian late Renaissance and Baroque musical works which would have graced the ears of the Corsini family during that epoch.
Acclaimed tenor and coordinator of the workshops, Perry Joyce, explained that the featured works are geographically and contextually related to the masterpieces on display.
“For example, some of the works are Florentine or Roman, which is significant to the Renaissance,” he said.
“Also, the periods in which these musical works were created cross over with the creation of the artworks.”
Each of the workshops will feature a special guest presenter with expertise in the field of early music and singing, and participants will be immersed in the music of that period for the entire 90 minutes of the class.
The classes will begin with a warm-up focusing on the comparison between modern and more traditional techniques.
Participants will then have the opportunity to explore a compelling repertoire and enjoy the unique experience of singing in an opera chorus, regardless of their prior knowledge or skills.
Mr Joyce hopes that the workshops allow people to deepen their appreciation for very early forms of operatic music through an exploration of significant works created in a particular time in Western art history.
“I really want to share my love for these early works with all their fun, drama and emotionally stirring vitality,” he said.
“Opera is a physical expression of the human and even though these works are old they can speak directly to us today.”
The talented tenor concluded that workshops and exhibitions like those in question are the reason beautiful art survives the test of time.
“I love that 400 years later, as per the period of the Florentine Camerata [when these artworks were developed] artists, poets, musicians and other creatives gathered on a regular basis to discuss works and inspire each other, and here we are centuries later still gathering, talking and inspiring one another,” he reflected.
“This is how art, in whatever form, continues to flourish as we all contribute to its longevity.”
For more information or to book a class, visit AGWA's website.