The great era of rebirth returns to Warsaw’s Royal Castle: the special interiors of the royal castle serve as a temporary home of Renaissance works from the Accademia Carrara Collection, including such gems as Sandro Botticelli’s “The Story of Virginia”. The works borrowed from the Bergamo collection form an impressive exhibition evoking the spirit of one of the greatest movements in Europe’s cultural history. Bartosz Haduch and Łukasz Marjański of NArchitekTURA studio are responsible for the design of the exhibition, ensuring the harmony between modern treasures and contemporary expectations.
The exhibition, titled “Botticelli Tells a Story”, seeks to create a contemporary architectural design that is rooted in three key themes: the unique interior of the exhibition space, the inherent originality of the paintings exhibited, and the renewal of the Renaissance art movement. The exhibition features nine Renaissance masterpieces, including the works of Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, Cosmè Tura, Lorenzo Lotto, Giovanni Battista Moroni, and Paolo Veronese, as well as the already mentioned apogee, Sandro Botticelli’s “The Story of Virginia”. The richly decorated space of the venue is in harmony with the world of the works presented, thus it is not surprising how the main elements of interior design became the main inspiration for the design of the exhibition layout. The most spectacular elements of the hall are the cross vaults, which symbolize the thirty-two former Polish provinces, and the ceiling fresco of clouds, which resembles the blue sky.
The smooth flow between the Renaissance and the contemporary world could not be in better hands than the designers of NArchtikTURA: while the original ceiling aims to show the view of the daylight sky, the newly designed facility aims to present the same view, only at night. The dark blue color, originally inspired by the Lazuli Pigment found in Botticelli’s paintings, is in fact related to the existing vault. The concave arc lying in the space is the negative of the ceiling’s vault, which creates a kind of “illusory sinusoidal” in transverse views and forms a bridge between contemporary and historical eras.
And to complete the overall picture, the reflective surfaces mirror, darken, and distort the image of the existing room, which is reminiscent of the Renaissance optical corrections used both in art and architecture. The symmetrical, harmonious geometry of the new structure is also a nod to the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment. Moreover, the exhibition is complemented and highlighted by discrete indirect lighting, subtle musical accompaniment, and carefully selected fine elements of architecture, graphics, and typography. In addition to the inter-age dialogues, the exhibition strives to provide an authentic environment, rendering the experience even more enjoyable: all new elements of visual identification are made of brass, referring to the golden color of the picture frames.
The joint story of NachitekTURA and Botticelli represents both modern gracefulness and Renaissance elegance while maintaining a balance between the past and the present, reality and illusion, and architecture and art.
Curators of the exhibition: Mikołaj Baliszewski, Cristina Rodeschini
Organizer of the exhibition: Paweł Martosz
Digital narration: Huncwot Design
Music: Hania Rani & Dobrawa Czocher
The exhibition is open until 18 September in the Royal Castle of Warsaw.