Early Art Collecting in Renaissance Venice
Presented by Frederick Ilchman
Venice in the late 15th century was one of the largest cities in Europe and arguably the most sophisticated and cosmopolitan. The city teemed with artists and patrons. Not surprisingly, many of the features we take for granted in art collecting today—for example, the practice of connoisseurship, the gallery picture, the secondary market, and the illustrated collection catalogue—were first developed in Renaissance Venice. This lecture offers fascinating anecdotes of pioneering art collectors and their prized possessions in the Serenissima, a culture of competitive aesthetics that gave birth to the art market and art world of our time.
Frederick Ilchman is Chair, Art of Europe at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Ilchman joined the MFA in 2001 as Assistant Curator of Paintings. A specialist in the art of the Italian Renaissance, he has curated numerous exhibitions, organized international conferences, contributed to scholarly publications and lectured and taught in the United States and abroad. Ilchman’s acclaimed exhibition, "Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice" (2009), organized with the Musée du Louvre, was the first major exhibition dedicated to the competition among these three renowned artists and the emergence of their signature styles. Ilchman has been on the board of directors of Save Venice Inc., the largest private organization devoted to preserving the art and architecture of Venice, since 2005, and is the Chairman of its Board of Directors.