Secret Impressionists: exhibition and film

In recent years we all saw many exhibitions on impressionism – including important ones. But the exhibition in Rome until March 8th is different from all the others: here, for the first time, over 50 paintings from numerous private collections will be exhibited together for the first time. In addition, on February 10th, 11th and 12th it will be possible to see a documentary film about this exhibition at the cinema: an opportunity for those who cannot go to visit it in person, but also a chance to learn more about the history of Impressionism.

La mostra in un palazzo-scrigno

The same building that houses “Secret Impressionists” is a valid reason to travel to Rome: Bonaparte Palace in Piazza Venezia is in fact a splendid Baroque building so far used exclusively as a private residence and open to the public only in October 2019 to host this important exhibition. It is a building of great historical value, which takes its name from Napoleon’s mother, who stayed here until her death in 1836. Inside there are works and valuable objects such as inlaid marbles, trompe l’œils, works by Canova, neoclassical fireplaces.

Why “Secret Impressionists”

Curated by Marianne Mathieu, scientific director of the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris and by Claire Durand-Ruel – descendant of the first merchant-supporter of the Impressionists-, “Secret Impressionists” reveals more than 50 works that until today were to be considered practically unattainable for the public: lesser-known works and masterpieces by some of the great masters of French Impressionism coming exclusively from private collections that have so far been inaccessible. For the first time these paintings will be shown in a single non-repeatable exhibition until March 8th, 2020.

Some pantings from the exhibition:

The Impressionists: secret and not

“Secret Impressionists” therefore reveals the missing piece of the history of Impressionism: all those paintings that only a few have managed to see in books and manuals but never in person. A story that began on April 15th, 1874 at the exhibition of rejected paintings (from the Louvre) housed in the studio of photographer Nadar. Since then, modern painting has never been the same: the paintings by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Morisot, Pissarro and Sisley (among others) are no longer conceived and executed inside the ateliers but en plein air. Historical, mythological or religious scenes are abandoned in favour of the realism of the subjects. The chosen technique is of fragmented brush strokes. Naturalism is accentuated by the use of colours, with paintings full of light that make the dark paintings with dense colors of only a few decades before seem very distant.
A revolution that can be retraced at least in part by visiting the rooms of Palazzo Napoleone, admiring the paintings of Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Rysselberghe, Cross, Pissarro, Sisley, Gauguin, Signac, Caillebotte, Morisot and Gonzalès and neo-impressionists such as Seurat. The path is developed through an arrangement by theme, that divides the Impressionists by subjects: portraits, Parisian life, landscape painting.


The movie “Secret Impressionists”

On February 10th, 11th and 12th it will also be possible to see the docu-film on this Roman exhibition in the cinemas participating in the Nexodigital events: a documentary that recounts the impressionist revolution and all the paintings exhibited at Napoleone Palace. Curators Claire Durand-Ruel and Marianne Mathieu will be the ones describing the film. It will not only be an opportunity to discover (or rediscover) this important chapter in the history of art, but also to learn more about the events of the newly inaugurated Napoleone Palace.

Cover image:

Claude Monet

L’ile aux Orties, 1897

Olio on canvas

Photo Peter Schälchli, Zürich

Target Point, Italian Ideas