Sectors of the Exhibition

The exhibition is divided in three sectors which aim at giving a complete representation of the entire artistic production of Pieter de Witte. Here displayed are both works of art of this Flemish painter and of other artists of the same period, coming from the three most important places where Pieter de Witte worked: Florence, city of his artistic training, Munich, where he reached his artistic maturity working for the Dukes of Bavaria, and Volterra. Focus of the exhibition are two out of three altarpieces created by Pieter de Witte for the town of Volterra, which are evidence of his artistic independence from other influences and his creative originality, reached in the 1580s.


This first sector shows art coming from Florence in the years of the regency of Francesco de'Medici (1564 – 1574), when Pieter de Witte (Pietro Candido) underwent his artistic training, and in the years of the Grand Duchy of Francesco de'Medici. It displays an initial group of works of art which are representative of the painting style at the end of the Mannerist period in Florence. These works of art are not only by Pieter de Witte, but also by other Flemish artists, such as Giovanni Stradano, Federico Sustris, Elia Candido and Giambologna.

From drawings to tapestries, from sculptures to paintings, many different typologies of works of art are displayed in order to give visitors an exhaustive example of the vitality, and of the cultural and artistic refinement of the Florence of the mid-1500s.


This second sector is dedicated to the works of art of Pieter de Witte in Volterra. Thanks to the three altarpieces in Volterra – Adoration of the Shepherds and the Lament over the lifeless Christ which are displayed in the exhibition and The presentation of the Town of Volterra to the Virgin by its Patron Saints which is situated in its original location, on the right altar in the Cathedral of Volterra, but ideally part of the exhibition – we can find evidence of the artistic maturity of the painter who finds his inspiration in the same sources of the Florentine art. In a short period of time Pietro Candido re-elaborated the classical style of Andrea del Sarto in artistic compositions filled with great pathos, embracing also the audacious artistic experimentation of Rosso Fiorentino and of the late Mannerism. One part of this sector also shows the unpublished results of the reflectographic investigations carried out on works of art in Volterra in order to unveil the creative process of the artist. These examinations of the Lament proved to be very interesting, because they can also be compared with the draft design preserved in the Louvre Museum, which has been exceptionally lent for this exhibition.

In another part of this sector, many relevant works of art also reveal the characteristics of the culture in Volterra in the second half of the 1500s, and in the various fields of the artistic production.


The third sector shows an ample panorama of the lengthy and prolific artistic period of the artist in Munich, which lasted from 1596 to 1628, year of his death. He worked initially for William V and later for Maximilian I. Visitors can admire the different typologies of works of art, going from sculptures to drawings created by artists of the court, and numerous draft designs by Pieter de Witte drawn especially for the decoration of the Residenz, a lavish ducal residence, and also for the rich and refined tapestries in the court of the Dukes of Bavaria. In addition to this, works of art with religious subjects and portraits are displayed, like the exceptional and refined Portrait of Magdalene of Bavaria, preserved in the Alte Pinakotek in Munich.