Guido Cagnacci was one of the most eccentric painters of seventeenth-century Italy, infamous for the unconventionality of both his art and his lifestyle. Born in Romagna in 1601, he lived and worked in his native region as well as in Venice, concluding his career in imperial Vienna. His works, mostly religious in subject, are known for their unabashed, often unsettling eroticism, and his biography is no less intriguing. Though his pictorial style was influenced by some of the most important Italian painters of the time — the Carracci, Guercino, and Guido Reni — Cagnacci developed an individual and immediately recognizable artistic language. The Repentant Magdalene is one of the artist’s masterpieces and has not been seen outside California since its acquisition by the Norton Simon Museum in 1982. A testament to Cagnacci’s genius, this extraordinary work introduced New York audiences to this exceptional and forgotten artist.
The Art of Guido Cagnacci was the first book in English devoted to the artist in nearly thirty years. Written by Xavier F. Salomon and published by Scala Arts & Heritage Publishers, it examines Cagnacci’s life and work, from his early religious paintings to the later canvases showing ancient heroines and allegorical and biblical figures, often in defiantly sensual attitudes.
Principal funding for the exhibition is generously provided by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation. Major support for the exhibition and the accompanying book, The Art of Guido Cagnacci, is provided by Fabrizio Moretti, with additional support from Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Horvitz, Ayesha Bulchandani, and Mark Fisch and Rachel Davidson.