Donato Creti: Preserving the legacy of this great master from the past

Twelve years ago there was a small exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled “Donato Creti: Melancholy and Perfection” which introduced the 18th century Bolognese artist (1671-1749) to the mainstream American audience.  Great masters sometimes fall out of favor or are forgotten for EONS before they are re-discovered years later.

Sometime in the 19th century, the Palazzo Pubblico in Bologna, Italy, removed the once displayed works by Creti and with time he was forgotten until he was re-introduced into art history several generations later through a groundbreaking exhibition in 1935 (K. Christiansen, catalogue of the exhibition, Donato Creti, New York, 2000, p.9). Today, a well-known artist dropping off the cultural radar seems implausible given the ease with which things can be documented, but don’t hold your breath as surely this is happening to once known artists of the 1970s and 80s who will be re-discovered in the future by our children, grandchildren or even great grand-children!
I’m very pleased to see that Marco Riccomini, the recognized expert on Donato Creti, has completed his monograph on the energetic and productive draughtsman’s works on paper, hoping to finally preserve him in the annals of Italian Rococo art history for good. Certainly a worthy accomplishment.  Bravo!!!
M. Riccomini, Donato Creti. Le opera su carta, catalogo ragionato, Umberto Allemandi & C., Torino, 2012.
image credits: (top) Koelliker Collection; Donato Creti, Drinking Boy, oil on paper, 472 x 382 mm; (bottom) Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe; Donato Creti,  Studies for a woman playing tambourine and a putto playing triangle, Inv. 4231 S. Pen and brown ink, 212 x 160 mm.

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