Nearly 500 years after his death, Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522), an Old Master painter and inspiration to surrealists including André Breton, will be having his first solo exhibition, reports the Art Newspaper.
The exhibition, which will open at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. February 1, will be a comprehensive look at the idiosyncratic artist and his work offering up 34 original works by Piero and four attributed paintings.
Giorgio Vasari, a 16th century painter and art historian known for penning the seminal art historical text The Lives of the Artists, once described Piero as an unhygienic, solitary person, “more animal than human.” Vasari reported that Piero died alone, having been found by his few friends at the base of his staircase. Curator at the National Gallery, Gretchen Hirschauer and associate professor of Italian Renaissance art at NYU, Dennis Geronimus, wanted to pull back the veil of mystery that shrouds the underrated Piero, a contemporary of Botticelli, Leonardo, and Michelangelo.
Among the items on view will be a 15th century altarpiece of the Madonna and Child with Saints Lazarus and Sebastian which hails from a church in the small Tuscan hill town, Montevettolini. Other works exhibited will include The Misfortunes of Silenus (c. 1500, Harvard Art Museums) and The Discovery of Honey (c. 1500, Worcester Art Museum).
After making its debut in Washington, D.C, the exhibition will travel to Florence to have a 14-week run at the Galleria deli Uffizi.
“No artist has given the world more rare and singular inventions while remaining in the shadow of the Renaissance greats of his time than Piero di Cosimo,” said Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage for the City and the Museums of Florence. “His beguiling pictorial creations will linger in the imagination of all those who see the exhibition.”
“Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence” will run from February 1–May 3 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C