The Frenzy of Orlando turns 500
Ferrara exhibition - 24 September 2016 - 28 January 2017
"What Ariosto saw when he closed his eyes"
Palazzo dei Diamanti
September 24, 2016- January 28, 2017
It was never the intention of the exhibition’s curators to trace once again the popularity of Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando) in the figurative arts. Their approach therefore focuses firmly on the poem itself.
In some cases, it has been possible to identify the works and objects that Ariosto was clearly familiar with, but the curators did not limit themselves to that. They also attempted to forge a repertoire of images, selecting the works and objects that Ariosto was unquestionably acquainted with, while combining them with others which, although less well-known to the poet, are consistent with the pictorial tradition that fed into his imaginative world.
The key choice was to display the first edition of the poem half way through the exhibition’s itinerary. In this way, the visitor experiences the entire first part of the exhibition as awaiting Orlando.
In chronicling the court life of the early 16th century, the exhibition employs specific works and objects that pre-date 1516. They act as a document from the age of Ariosto, while also serving as a symbolic frame of reference leading back to The Frenzy of Orlando.
Midway through the itinerary, the visitor finally arrives at the fetish centerpiece around which the whole exhibition revolves: the first edition of The Frenzy of Orlando.