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Victoria and Albert Museum joins forces with the Gemäldegalerie in preparation for the exhibition “The Botticelli Renaissance”


The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) has joined forces with the Gemäldegalerie in preparation for the forthcoming exhibition 'The Botticelli Renaissance'. The V&A is the largest museum in the world devoted to design and the decorative arts. One of the outstanding features of the London museum is its thematic linking of design with the fine arts.

At the heart of the collaboration between the Berlin and London museums is a remarkable Botticelli figure. In 2011, the V&A loaned its 'Portrait of a Lady at the Window' to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin for its spectacular exhibition 'Gesichter der Renaissance' ('Renaissance Faces') which went on show at the Bode-Museum on the Museum Island Berlin.

This painting vividly encapsulates the exciting story of both Botticelli's fall into obcurity and his later spectacular rediscovery. Even by the 17th century, the identity of the sitter was no longer known. Seeing a strong resemblance between the sitter and a figure in Botticelli's 'Primavera', the English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) bought the picture in 1867, for the paltry sum of just 20 pounds. After restoring the painting, he used it as a source of inspiration for his own images of beautiful, sensual women, some of which will also be featured in this year's exhibition.

The Botticelli figure from the V&A has undergone a series of comprehensive restoration treatments over the last two years and has now been freed of overpainting. The original tonality and many original details, such the brilliantly painted diaphanous drapery, are now visible for the first time since Botticelli's lifetime. Visitors to the Berlin exhibition will be among the first to lay their eyes on this masterpiece in its original splendour.

Curators from the Gemäldegalerie and the V&A are working closely together in selecting the objects for inclusion in 'The Botticelli Renaissance' and in preparing the catalogue. After the Berlin showing, the exhibition will travel to London and go on show at the V&A in 2016. In recent years, the V&A has substatially raised its international profile by presenting enormously popular exhibitions that simultaneously address aspects of art, design, and popular culture. For example, the V&A was behind the recent David Bowie exhibition on show in Berlin.

The exhibition is being mounted jointly with the Victoria and Albert Museum and has received support from Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin, the Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Verein and the Italienisches Kulturinstitut Berlin.

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