Studio of Sandro Botticelli, The Last Communion of Saint Jerome, oil on panel, $750,000 from Moretti Fine Art.

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The Old Masters action is not all in Maastricht this week.

Moretti Fine Art, which opened its enlarged Duke Street St James’s gallery last summer, is staging In Donatello’s Shadow: at home in the Renaissance until March 31.

This is the firm’s second exhibition since opening the premises.

Although the gallery has stood at the huge TEFAF fair in the past, it has not joined for this year’s edition.

Instead, it has timed its show to coincide with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance (closes on June 11), the first major UK show devoted to the artist.

Sculpture renown

Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (c.1386-1466) is best remembered for his sculptures in the round, such as his bronze David, c.1440s, which shows the hero clad only in helmet and boots, though he also worked in shallow bas relief. The individuality of his figures and the Classical language used to create them marked a turning point in the visual arts.


Giovanni della Robbia, two vases in glazed terracotta, $400,000 from Moretti Fine Art.

For Moretti, Donatello is one of the ‘fathers of the Renaissance’ along with architect Filippo Brunelleschi, the painter Masaccio and fellow sculptor Luca della Robbia.

This quartet sparked a ‘boundless creativity’ of artists in Renaissance Florence, the gallery says.

With such a rich and varied field of works to choose from, Moretti has kept the focus small, concentrating on works made for display or devotion in the home.

The exhibition plays with the rise in status of these objects from everyday objects – albeit for wealthy patrons of the day – to coveted pieces in museums and private collections.

Highlights include a glazed terracotta relief of San Vincenzo Ferrer by della Robbia along with a later a pair of glazed terracotta heads depicting St Dominic and St Francis by Benedetto Buglioni (1459/60-1521).

A more decorative work comes from della Robbia’s son, Giovanni (1469-1529), whose pair of glazed terracotta vases overflow with fruit.

These works and more will be ranged around the gallery, which has been set up to evoke a palazzo interior.

Art talk

A talk also takes place on art in the Renaissance home, co-hosted by Moretti and The Burlington Magazine, on March 22.

Luke Syson, director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, will be in conversation with Tommaso Mozzati, professor at the Università degli Studi di Perugia, and Laura Llewellyn, acting curator of Italian paintings before 1500 at The National Gallery. It is part of London Art Week’s Art History in Focus series.