Just over a month before the exhibition opens, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has canceled the presentation of a major investigation into Genoese art. The museum said the lingering pandemic made it impossible to staging the show as planned in September.
However, the European public may still be lucky. “A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750” is still scheduled to open in 2022 at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, which co-organized the exhibition. (The institution has yet to confirm the dates for its presentation.)
The National Gallery‘s cancellation of the event is a stark reminder that Covid continues to shake up the international art world, even as vaccines have become more widely available in many countries.
Already delayed by more than a year, “A Superb Baroque” had been one of the most anticipated shows of the fall season and was to serve as a great preview of Genoa during the 17th and 18th centuries, when artists performed. bloomed in the Italian city. State. The exhibition was to include more than 130 objects, many of them from international institutions. Almost half of the works must have come from Genoese museums and churches, including the Chiesa di San Luca, the Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola and the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato.
Citing the “complex” nature of the exhibition, Anabeth Guthrie, head of communications at the National Gallery of Art, said in an email that the decision was made to cancel “A Superb Baroque” this week, while as many paintings held by Genoese churches were taken down for international transport. More than a quarter of the work would go through a visa clearance process, Guthrie said. It was still uncertain on Monday whether the works could leave Italy.
“We were concerned that if the pandemic continued to escalate globally, international transport restrictions might not allow items to return to Europe, leaving them stranded here in the United States with a potential impact on the presentation of Rome, ”Guthrie said. “Last year two exhibits were left stranded here due to transportation issues.”
In addition, questions were asked about the health risks associated with the size of the crews required to install works as grandiose as those on the “A Superb Baroque” checklist.
“The pandemic has created a number of complications and a level of uncertainty that would compromise our ability to present this much anticipated exhibit in a way that meets the expectations of our audience and adequately tells the story of this place and of this important period in history. A statement posted on the National Gallery of Art website reads.
During the pandemic, most major exhibits – from a retrospective of Joan Mitchell slated to travel to the United States to an investigation by Artemisia Gentileschi at the National Gallery in London – have been postponed or altered. The National Gallery of Art’s presentation of “A Superbe Baroque” is one of the few to be completely canceled.