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1 February 2012
All five remaining Saint Rosalia paintings by Van Dyck will be reunited for the first time at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Van Dyck in Sicily: Painting and the Plague, the first ever exhibition to focus on the prolific year and a half that Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) spent in Sicily between 1624 and 1625.
The exhibition reunites for the first time the 16 works, all portraits and paintings of religious subjects, that are documented, or believed to have been painted during that year in Palermo.
The most significant group of paintings produced by Van Dyck in Palermo are the images of the city’s patron saint, Rosalia. Not only did Van Dyck create Rosalia’s iconography as we know it today, but he also witnessed the events of that summer that fixed the saint’s role for the city.
The saint is still to this day highly venerated by the citizens of Palermo. The exhibition brings together every painting of Rosalia by Van Dyck, not only from America, but also from London, Spain and Puerto Rico, allowing them to be seen in the same room for the first time.
The exhibition will also mark the first time in the UK that Van Dyck’s portrait of Emanuele Filiberto, the Viceroy of Sicily, from the Gallery’s own collection will be seen alongside the spectacular suit of armour worn by the Viceroy in the portrait.Other outstanding works lent by museums in Europe and beyond will contribute to this unique view of the artist.
Soon after Van Dyck’s arrival in Sicily in 1624, plague struck Palermo, killing most of the population. That same year, the bones of Saint Rosalia were discovered in a cave on the Monte Pellegrino where she was said to have died as a hermit in the Middle Ages. Her bones were carried in a procession through the city, after which the plague ceased. Saint Rosalia was immediately proclaimed protector of Palermo, and Van Dyck painted a series of images showing the Saint interceding for the city against the plague.
Dulwich Picture Gallery,
15 February – 27
May 2012,Tickets: £8,
Senior Citizens £7,
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