Tutta in voi la luce mia. History Painting and Opera

29.09.2023 – 25.02.2024

From 29 September 2023 Accademia Carrara presents “Tutta in voi la luce mia. History Painting and Opera”, the last exhibition of Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture 2023.

An exhibition to see, feel and hear: the Accademia Carrara has been transformed into an opera house, thanks to an engaging, immersive staging project that sees it providing the venue for a major exhibition – the third and final such initiative for Bergamo and Brescia’s year as joint Italian Capital of Culture – to which visitors are invited in order to discover the painting, music and leading figures of what was an unrepeatable era: the nineteenth century.

Critics in the nineteenth century exclaimed as they stood in front of the great paintings of the day that it seemed like they were seeing them in an opera house rather than on the great stage of the world. With the same intention, this exhibition eliminates the borderlines between stage and painting to represent a period of cross-pollination of the arts, and of intense exchanges amongst artists, often working on the same themes, thanks to a shared feeling. The Romantic period in the nineteenth century coincided with the consolidation of history painting, music, literature and poetry, and certainly of Italian opera around the world, which opened up the doors to modernity, particularly in the early part of that century. The title of the exhibition pays homage to Gaetano Donizetti, since Tutta in voi la luce mia is one of the arias in Anna Bolena (the phrase is translated in the English libretto as “My splendour will pour out over you completely”), which is among the compositions represented in the exhibition and made famous by Maria Callas.

Francesco Hayez, "L’ultimo bacio dato a Giulietta da Romeo" (dettaglio), 1823.
Tremezzina (CO), Villa Carlotta
Francesco Hayez, "

More than 40 works by artists including Francesco Hayez, Francesco Coghetti, Domenico Morelli and Giovanni Boldini describe a period that saw Italy become renowned in Europe and around the world. For the public, the project is intended to afford an opportunity to glean an understanding of how much opera is a foundational, attractive and still-relevant part of Italian culture. It is an exhibition for which Bergamo is the ideal city, since it is the hometown of Gaetano Donizetti, one of the towering figures of opera. Moreover, the Accademia Carrara is the perfect venue, because it was in those years that it established itself as an art school and a major workshop for history painting.

It is a project awash with heroes and heroines such as Romeo and Juliet, Anne Boleyn, Othello, Torquato Tasso, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Marin Faliero, who at that very time were forming a new “image bank” – from literature, via the stage, to the canvas – replacing Greek and Roman myths and creating an epic culture closer to the sensibility of an ever-increasing and more committed audience, constituted by readers of historical novels, theatre- and operagoers and visitors to exhibitions, who in the vicissitudes of the characters (some of whom where based on real people) projected the torments of the Romantic soul, with an extraordinary new focus on female figures. All of this contributed to constructing a new sensibility vis-à-vis the past – especially the Middle Ages and the Renaissance – in a captivating hybridization of the arts that brought episodes from history right up to date while also, at the same time, enchanting, involving and moving the public.

About the exhibition

Days and times

Tickets and Reservations

Monday: 9am – 5.30pm
Tuesday: 9am – 1pm
Wednesday: 9am – 5.30pm
Thursday: 9am – 5.30pm
Friday: 9am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 9.30am – 6.30pm
Sunday and public holidays: 9.30am – 6.30pm


Special night openings: every last Fridays of the month, from 6.30pm to 11pm


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