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Carlo Bononi

The Last Dreamer of the Ferrarese School

Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti

14 October 2017 – 7 January 2018


Carlo Bononi. Although virtually unknown to the public today, in the past, the name Carlo Bononi drew the attention of artists, patrons, scholars, and art lovers. A prolific, great artist, restless experimenter and indefatigable traveler, Bononi occupies an extremely important role in seventeenth century art history. Bononi’s career spanned the era in Italy from the transition from the Counter-Reformation to the maturation of the new style of the seventeenth century. Occasionally making use of Mannerist stylistic elements, Bononi was capable of innovations that anticipated the modes and manners of the high Baroque era. A distinctive feature of his work, in fact, is the emotional energy that exudes from every figure and every composition. A painter of this caliber has long fascinated specialists, but still awaits full critical assessment. This is why the Ferrara Arte Foundation has decided to dedicate a major exhibition, his first monographic exhibition ever. The project, curated by Francesca Cappelletti and Giovanni Sassu, aims to provide a systematic retrospective of his career and to make this extraordinary master of color and emotion known to the visitors of the Palazzo dei Diamanti. Based on new information that has emerged thanks to the contribution of renown scholars and on the very significant studies on Este art collecting as well as recent exhibitions, the exhibit “Carlo Bononi, The Last Dreamer of the Ferrarese School” will feature an unprecedented reconstruction of his creative path, with the aim of showing within the context of his time the singular personality of a restless artist who painted for patrons and churches for half of Italy, from Liguria to Trentino, from western to eastern Emilia, to the Marche and Umbria. 

Curated by

Giovanni Sassu and Francesca Cappelletti

Comitato d’onore

Daniele Benati, Andrea Emiliani, Luigi Ficacci, Angelo Mazza, Erich Schleier

Organized by

Fondazione Ferrara Arte and Gallerie d’Arte Moderna and Contemporanea di Ferrara in collaboration with Musei di Arte Antica del Comune di Ferrara

Promoted by

Comune di Ferrara

Under the patronage of

Regione Emilia-Romagna

Supported by

Fondazione Teatro Comunale

Eni partner della mostra e partner unico del progetto didattico “La fabbrica della meraviglia”

Partner del tour di presentazione della mostra

Cassa di Risparmio di Cento

Partner tecnico


Works on show

Press release


Palazzo dei Diamanti

/ Carlo Bononi. The Last Dreamer of the Ferrarese School


Carlo Bononi. L'ultimo sognatore dell'Officina ferrarese

Attività per scuole e famiglie

La fabbrica della meraviglia