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The Return of a Masterpiece
Palazzo Bianco – 11, Via Garibaldi – Genoa
From March, 23, 2016

From the volume The Fable of Leto by Orazio De Ferrari – The Return of a Masterpiece published by Sagep Editori: “Geography and history, namely the history of economy, teach us that Genoa’s position has always facilitated its relation with Spain. For some years, art history has already observed that within this flow, the trading of paintings, sculptures, tapestries, silverware and artefacts, travelling in both directions, played a meaningful role. This painting by Orazio De Ferrari (Voltri 1606 – Genoa 1657), The Fable of Leto, shared the same fate, probably from the beginning of its history as a collecting piece.

Today, it is being exhibited in the rooms of Musei di Strada Nuova, and this was made possible by the generosity of current owner Giorgio Baratti, by the engagement of those who curated the exhibition and by the effective collaboration at different levels of the director of the museum and the Direzione Cultura. The exhibition gives the appearance of at least a temporary return home, but we are aware that it also represents a valuable proof of the great history of our city.

Therefore, the Civica Amministrazione must express its sincerest gratitude to those who made this event happen. What is certain is that culture is not just about the destiny of Genoa or Italy, but also of a humankind that keeps counting on a better world.” (Carla SibillaCity Council Member – and Marco DoriaMayor of Genoa).

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In the volume The Fable of Leto by Orazio De Ferrari – The Return of a Masterpiece, curated by the art historian Anna Orlando, Giorgio Baratti writes:

Each of us has a dream. More than one, even. For an antiques dealer who does his job inspired by a sincere love of art, somewhat like the fervor igniting the passion of a collector, the dream is of coming across a masterpiece. If then the antiques dealer allows himself the luxury of dreaming a little more, he imagines that the masterpiece is recognized as such by scholars and institutions.

The story that this volume aims to record is the retrieval of an extraordinary canvas by one of the main protagonists of Genoese painting in the seventeenth century. It is The Fable of Leto, signed by Orazio De Ferrari, and its existence was made known by a text of 1642 written by the Ligurian poet Luca Assarino. The painting has been taken back to Italy and temporarily displayed in Genoa, where it was created.

Its “return home” is greeted by an initiative that fulfills my dreams, before the work passes again from hand to hand, as is natural. Thanks to the care of Anna Orlando, who conceived and coordinated the initiative, and thanks to the hospitality of Musei di Strada Nuova, in the persons of director Piero Boccardo and curator Raffaella Besta, The Fable of Leto has the honor of being received, in the room of Palazzo Bianco where other De Ferrari canvases from the civic collections are displayed, by the mayor of Genoa Marco Doria and by the city councillor with responsibility for cultural matters Carla Sibilla, to both of whom goes my sincerest gratitude.

The volume that accompanies this exhibition, which I will take care to further disseminate in museums and libraries outside Italy, rests on the contribution of a team of experts who, through a group effort under the the direction of Anna Orlando, assisted by Francesca D’Antimi and the staff of Sagep Editrice, have managed to offer us a wide-ranging tableau, useful to fully understand the value of this painting and frame it within the golden season of Genoese art history.

An important appendix with the updated painter’s catalog concludes the volume, with my satisfaction for having desired it and imagined it as something that could last for the sake of art history. Eventually conscious that, even if The Fable of Leto has to keep on touring across Europe, or the world, never again will it fall into the oblivion that has kept it hidden from us more than three centuries.

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Below, the presentation of the exhibition at Palazzo Bianco. Interventions by the the city councillor with responsibility for cultural matters Carla Sibilla, by the art historian Anna Orlando and by Giorgio Baratti (from YouTube channel GenoaMunicipality – Italian only).
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Press Review Online

22/03/2016 – Palazzo Bianco, il ritorno della “Favola di Latona” (video from – Italian only
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22/03/2016 – La Favola di Latona: torna a Genova un capolavoro di De Ferrari (video from Il Secolo – Italian only
23/03/2016 – La Favola di Latona di Orazio de Ferrari – Il ritorno di un capolavoro (presentation of the volume curated by Anna Orlando; – Italian only
01/04/2016 – Torna a Genova «La favola di Latona» di De Ferrari (Il Giornale dell’
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