One of the masterpieces of the Venetian painter is arriving in Bergamo from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and for the first time will be meeting the work of the Carrara collection.




In Bergamo we have, thanks to the collaboration of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, a new encounter between masterpieces, which has been made possible by their extraordinary loan of the Madonna con Bambino by Carlo Crivelli (1435 -1495).

This panel painting by Crivelli, which has been part of the English collection since 1882, is presented to the public for the first time along with the Madonna col Bambino by the same painter which is resident in the Accademia Carrara: this allows a comparison of two panels similar in date (circa 1480), iconography, technique, both intended for private devotion, both signed “OPUS CAROLI CRIVELLI VENETI”, and all made possible in a specifically designed setting, enriched by themed instructed tours, workshops, two guided tours, educational and detailed study materials, plus a conference which is open to the public.


Thus, with this new partnership with V. & A. Museum, we see consolidated the excellent relations between the Accademia Carrara and important institutions, confirming the role of excellence of the Bergamo museum at both the Italian and the international level. In fact, the arrival of Crivelli comes a short distance from another extraordinary loan, Il Sarto by Giovan Battista Moroni from the National Gallery once again in London.

In the work from the Victoria and Albert Museum, the theme of the Madonna and Child is developed with particular richness and lends itself to multiple readings: from the allusion to redemption, represented by a bare tree in the landscape in the background, to the reference to the passion of Christ symbolised by the red carnation on the parapet, to the images of violets (the Virgin) and the fly (personification of futility and evil). Its combination with the work already at the Accademia Carrara, from the collection of Guglielmo Lochis, shows a style that is characterised by a mix of the abstract elegance of shapes and contours with the truth in the representation of empty spaces and physical objects.


Collaboration between museums can take many forms and loans or judicious exchanges can be extraordinarily fruitful, increasing the opportunities for learning. As is the case here. Crivelli is a fascinating painter. He captivates and amazes in his ability to mix almost abstract elegance and the exact reproduction of reality. He intrigues with still presence of flowers and fruits that make us sense the possibility of hidden meanings. The Carrara owns one of his masterpieces. Now, thanks to the loan of Victoria and Albert Museum it is no longer on its own, and the chance to see the two paintings side by side not only multiplies the magic, but allows one to make comparisons, to play spot the difference in order to better understand the career journey of a very special artist, and to appreciate his ability to renew himself. In a case such as this, even the loan of a single work of very high quality is pertinent and offers the attentive viewer the opportunity of experiencing an authentic gallery itinerary.

Emanuela Daffra, Director of the Accademia Carrara

We are very pleased to have helped to make a direct comparison possible between the Madonna from the Lochis collection of the Accademia Carrara and the version from the Victoria and Albert Museum. The two works, which follow the same compositional structure, are enriched by remarkable changes in attributes, which allow the visitor to rediscover the art of Crivelli in all its creative richness. We hope that this kind of collaboration between our museums may become more frequent in the future.

Ana Debenedetti, Curator of the Victoria & Albert Museum


Carlo Crivelli, born in Venice and educated in Padua, spent most of his life in the Marches, where he realised his most famous works. He was an astonishing painter, a contemporary of both Bellini and Mantegna, master of polyptychs which he rendered grandiose through perfect perspectives, golden decorations, references to antiquity and simultaneously his careful observation of reality, and his most tender rendition of the intimate dimension. The Pinacoteca di Brera dedicated a major exhibition to him in 2009-2010 which was curated by Emanuela Daffra.