The large work (1.22 x 3.17 metres) depicting The Parade of Prince Giovan Battista's Carnival Float for the Masquerade of the last Thursday Before Lent in 1664 won the prize for "finest painting in the show" at the last edition of the Biennale Internazionale dell'Antiquariato at Palazzo Corsini.
"Spectacular and rare" is how Gallerie degli Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt described the large painting by Johan Paul Schor, dated 1664, which the Gallery has just acquired. "The painting depicts roughly a hundred figures dressed in gold costumes, parading for carnival in 1664 alongside the old Commedia dell'Arte masks. The parade gaily accompanies a monumental triumphal float – a masterpiece also made by Schor, as we know from the archives – and a carriage hosting members of the Roman aristocracy. Allowing us to relive the splendour of the Baroque era in Rome, the artist has immortalised and set in context the ephemeral (and thus now lost) masterpiece that was this monumental gilded triumphal float, while at the same time portraying himself (bottom right) in the act of proudly displaying a sheet bearing the signature: Gio. Paul Schor de Insprvh fat(to) il carro e il quadro anno 1664. Thus the painting also has its place in the collection of self-portraits begun in those very same years by Leopoldo de' Medici, the superlative collector whom we are continuing to celebrate in a major exhibition at Palazzo Pitti until 25 February. It is also worth pointing out that Schor, who was born in Innsbruck in Austria, achieved international renown in Rome, where he lived from 1640 until his death in 1679: thus he symbolises the truly European dimension of the Italian art scene in the Baroque era, which is another reason why the acquisition of this painting highlights both the national and the European stature of the Gallerie degli Uffizi's collections."
Curator of 17th Century Painting Maria Matilde Simari added: "The Austrian stage designer and artist, who was known in Italy as Giovanni Paolo Todesco (1615–79) provides us in this painting with an original example of his overflowing Baroque imagination. Schor was capable of devising astonishingly inventive urban stage sets, yet also of producing precious pictures in fresco and on canvas, in addition to designing furnishings and items of everyday use. He was a diligent assistant of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who detected an affinity in this northern European master in the production of exuberant machines and apparatuses that embodied the typical taste of their era to the highest degree".
Alessandra Griffo, Curator of 18th Century Painting, Tapestries, Furniture and Carriages, said in conclusion: "The location in which we plan to hang this painting, at the start of the tour of Palazzo Pitti's new Museum of Carriages, will fully enhance the iconographic significance and uniqueness of a work that reflects one of the artist's areas of expertise, because the theme of carriages explored in detail for their decorative and representative potential is addressed in many of the drawings by Johann Paul Schor and his circle now in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi and other international collections."