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Satirical Paintings at the National

An interesting exhibition to reflect and think especially in this contemporary period has been scheduled at The National Gallery, London.
The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance, is the show which examines the ways in which older women were depicted during the Renaissance. Canons of beauty could be noted starting from the value still placed on women’s appearance today.
As reported, the core of the exhibition will be the exceptional reunion of An Old Woman with her male pendant, An Old Man (about 1513), on rare loan from a private collection in New York. The two works have only been displayed together once in their history, in the Renaissance Faces exhibition held 15 years ago at the National Gallery.
Furthermore, “The Ugly Duchess” inspired John Tenniel’s hugely popular illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, but as a result, she has long been associated with the world of fairy tale. Now, for the first time, an exhibition will move away from the painting’s afterlife to focus instead on its original context, in particular its key role in the development of secular and satirical art during the Renaissance – two areas which Massys pioneered.
As also communicated, the show will also feature a related drawing after Leonardo da Vinci with the same unmistakable face, generously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection. This will be the first time the drawing and painting will be displayed alongside one another.
In the exhibition it will be possible to admire a small selection of works in a variety of media to underline the satirical art during the Renaissance period: ugly could be nice.

The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance
The National Gallery, London
16 March – 11 June 2023
Admission free
Room 46

by Alain Chivilò