Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567), “Portrait of a Lady,” ca. 1550. Oil on panel, 101 × 79 centimeters (39.8 × 31 inches). Museo National Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 145 (1935.16). © Georgia Museum of Art
ATHENS, GA.- Pontormo, del Sarto, Foschi. One of these names is much less of a household name when it comes to 16th-century Italian art, but the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia aims to change that. “Wealth and Beauty: Pier Francesco Foschi and Painting in Renaissance Florence,” organized by Nelda Damiano, the museum’s Pierre Daura Curator of European Art, is the first exhibition dedicated to Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567), a highly prolific and fashionable Florentine painter whose career spanned nearly five decades. Despite his success at the time, he fell into nearly complete obscurity after his death. “Wealth and Beauty,” on view January 28 to April 24, 2022, offers a timely and critical reevaluation of this versatile and innovative Renaissance master.
Visitors have the opportunity to discover the significant contribution of a long-forgotten but important artist who helped to shape the cultural landscape of Florentine art. Born in Florence to a family of painters, Foschi trained with Andrea del Sarto, one of the most influential artists of the Renaissance. He received commissions from numerous prominent families of Florence, including the Medici, Pucci and Torrigiani. His assignments included small devotional images and large church altarpieces and frescoes, but he is best known today for his portraits. In his own lifetime he became one of the most sought-after portraitists in his city, celebrated for his ability to convey the gravitas of his subjects and represent the objects that connoted their social and economic status.
Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567), “Portrait of a Young Man Weaving a Wreath of Flowers,” ca. 1540. Oil on panel, 99 × 75.5 centimeters (39 × 29 3/4 inches). Purchased with funds from the Herbert I. and Elsa Bamberger Michael Fund, Permanent Collection, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, UMFA1981.047. © Georgia Museum of Art
“Wealth and Beauty” represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for audiences in Georgia. It includes exceptional works of art from world-renowned museums including the Gallerie degli Uffizi (Florence), the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze (Florence), the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), the Ashmolean Museum (University of Oxford) and the Royal Collection Trust (London), some of which have never been presented in the United States. The exhibition also sheds light on overlooked pictures in American museums, such as Foschi’s “Portrait of Bartolomeo Compagni,” at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida; Foschi’s “Portrait of Bartolomeo Gualterotti,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Puligo’s “Portrait of a Woman,” at the David Owsley Museum of Art in Muncie, Indiana; and Bronzino’s “Portrait of a Woman” at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., is lending two paintings, one by del Sarto and one by Pontormo.
Damiano said, “We are extremely honored to present an exhibition of this scope at the Georgia Museum of Art. This project has benefited from the tremendous support and generosity of museums, art dealers, private collectors, sponsors and scholars in North America and in Europe. We are excited to share with our visitors beautiful works of art from the Renaissance and bring to light an overlooked and fascinating artist like Foschi.”
Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567), “Portrait of Bartolomeo Compagni,” 1549. Oil on panel, 102.9 × 82.6 centimeters (40 1/2 × 32 1/2 inches). Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida. Purchased with funds from the Cummer Council. AP.1984.3.1. © Georgia Museum of Art
Foschi has never been the subject of a dedicated monograph, and no scholars have assessed his relevance in the context of Florentine art in a comprehensive way. This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the museum and including essays and entries by leading international experts. A version of the exhibition will open at the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze following its presentation in Georgia.
“Wealth and Beauty” is generously sponsored by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Goizueta Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, as well as the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art and the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation.
Attributed to Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567) (copy after Andrea del Sarto), head of a woman. Red chalk, 250 × 290 millimeters (9 13/16 × 11 7/16 inches). Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe delle Gallerie degli Uffizi, 6420 F. © Georgia Museum of Art
Francesco d’Ubertino Verdi, called Bachiacca (1494 – 1557), “Portrait of a Woman with a Music Book,” ca. 1540 – 45. Oil, tempera and gold on panel, 103 × 80 centimeters (40 5/8 × 31 5/8 inches). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv. 78.PB.227. © Georgia Museum of Art
Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567), “Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist,” ca. 1525–35. Mixed tempera on panel,105 × 87 centimeters (41 5/16 × 34 1/4 inches), Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, Florence, 235 azzurro - 302 giallo. © Georgia Museum of Art
Andrea del Sarto (1486 – 1530), “Charity,” before 1530. Oil on panel, 119.5 × 92.5 centimeters (47 1/16 × 36 7/16 inches). National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1957.14.5. © Georgia Museum of Art
Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567), “Portrait of Antonio Pucci,” 1540. Oil on panel, 116 × 88 centimeters (45 11/16 × 34 5/8 inches). Collezione Corsini, Florence.
Italy, early 16th century, beads from a rosary. Gilt copper with champlevé enamel, 24.5 centimeters long (9 5/8 inches). Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Ohio, Purchase from the J.H. Wade Fund, 1952.277.
Domenico Puligo (1492 – 1527), “Portrait of a Lady,” ca. 1525. Oil on panel transferred to canvas, 87.29 × 64.43 centimeters (34 3/8 × 25 3/8 inches). David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Thompson, 1940.026.000