Giovanni Bellini’s Pietà di Rimini: exhibitions and restorations (1930-2019)


Storia dell’arte n. 158 – Nuova Serie 2 | 2022

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Giulio Zavatta

Giovanni Bellini’s Pietà di Rimini: exhibitions and restorations (1930-2019)


The essay reconstructs the exhibition history and related restorations of Giovanni Bellini’s Pietà preserved in Rimini. The painting was displayed in 1930 at the Italian Exhibition in London, arousing great concern in Rimini, particularly in the Museum Director Carlo Lucchesi, so much so that he affixed his fingerprints in two secret spots to mark it with an unmistakable sign of recognition, fearing that it would not be returned. On the occasion of the London exhibition, it was restored in Milan by the famous restorer Mauro Pellicioli, who also restored it for the exhibition on Giovanni Bellini held in Venice in 1949. In the late 1960s, however, the advanced state of decay forced restorer Ottorino ­Nonfarmale to remove the original wooden panel.
Over the last twenty years, the extremely fragile Pietà of Rimini has been lent for exhibitions of various kinds on an almost annual basis, making it one of the most frequently circulating fifteenth-century masterpieces.

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