Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes was the first monographic exhibition in the United States dedicated to Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi, known as Antico (c. 1455–1528). As sculptor to the Gonzaga courts at Mantua and in northern Italy, Antico earned his name, "the antique one," for his creation in the classical style of statuettes, reliefs, and busts that are distinguished by their opulence and beauty. Using inventive and highly refined techniques, Antico lavishly gilded, silvered, and patinated his works, elevating his bronze sculptures to the status of the ancient precious objects that were avidly collected by his Gonzaga patrons. Splendid and timeless, Antico's works represent a sophisticated court style and have always been exclusive and rare. Today, fewer than fifty of his bronzes are known. Dispersed among museums in Europe and America, almost thirty-five of them will come together in this unprecedented presentation.
The exhibition shed light on the master's transformative contribution to this art form, incorporating the results of recently performed technical research to answer questions about the dating of Antico's works, his technique, and his development as an innovative artist. Jointly organized by the National Gallery of Art and The Frick Collection, the exhibition opened in the fall of 2011 in Washington, D.C., before it traveled to New York City the following spring. The exhibition was curated by Eleonora Luciano, Associate Curator of Sculpture at the National Gallery of Art, in collaboration with Denise Allen, Curator at The Frick Collection. The accompanying catalogue was written by an international team of scholars including Eleonora Luciano, Denise Allen, and Claudia Kryza-Gersch, Curator of Italian Sculpture at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. It is the first independent monograph in English to focus on the artist and the first comprehensive presentation of his works in color.
The exhibition in New York was made possible, in part, by the Christian Humann Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill III, the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, the Thaw Charitable Trust, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.