The temporary exhibition “Il viaggio nel Lombardo-Veneto dell’imperatore Ferdinando I e le vedute di Eduard Gurk” (Emperor Ferdinand I’s journey through Lombardy and Veneto and the paintings by Eduard Gurk) is open at the Cremona Civic Museum from 20 June to 4 October.

To mark the occasion of the bicentennial of the founding of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom (1815) a refined and stylish exhibition of over fifty pieces has been put together, comprising landscapes painted by the court painter Eduard Gurk, following the Emperor Ferdinand of Habsburg in his journey to receive the Iron Crown in Milan Cathedral. Eduard Gurk, careful observer, immortalised the most significant moments of the journey in water colour, marking the end of an era: just a few years later, in fact, photography was born.

The imperial procession entered Lombardy via the Stelvio Pass, travelling past Lake Como and Monza, where the crown of the Lombard kings was kept, before making its entrance in Milan. The emperor then visited the main cities of Lombardy, including Cremona.

Throughout the voyage, Eduard Gurk was a keen observer, fixing down on paper the most significant moments of the processions and the celebrations, tributes to the sovereign and folk festivals that took place. The exhibition also contains some memories of Cremona related to the journey.

The works of Eduard Gurk are extremely relevant within the early nineteenth century Vienna school of landscapes, in which Gurk was a key player. The paintings are “extraordinarily landscapes evoked by the lightness of the technique, and the spectacular ceremony they narrate”, said the curator of the exhibition, Mario Marubbi. To this we must also add that the works were, in fact, never delivered to the court due to the artist’s premature death in Jerusalem in 1841, and remained essentially unpublished until 2013.

The exhibition lighting was designed to combine the presence of objects of historical importance such as books, sculptures and costumes with the watercolours; illuminating such a diverse selection of materials involves the use of different levels of light, to enhance the individual elements but at the same time build a coherent narrative and dialogue throughout the exhibition.

The narrative of an exhibition of this kind should lead visitors along a crescendo of suggestions, and the visitor, moving freely through the space, should sense the information and ideas in different fields of view. “The correct lighting of the works is the key means of enhancing the works themselves” (Mario Marubbi)
Sunlight LED projectors were chosen with this in mind; their high optical and colorimetric performance (CRI>90), and their formal impact mean that they combine perfectly with the museum’s existing structures.

The end result provides precisely the required combination of factors, even surpassing initial expectations, according to exhibition curator, Mario Marubbi.