The Gallerie degli Uffizi – the new museum cluster resulting from the merger of the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Palazzo Pitti museum complex occasioned by the recent minister Franceschini reform, and under the direction of Eike Schmidt for just over a month – can already offer visitors an exhibition programme for 2016 that it is at once ambitious and demanding from a scholarly viewpoint while also being of unquestioned interest to a far broader audience. The programme, which comprises fully nine exhibitions, is outlined below in order of the various exhibitions’ inauguration, with a brief introduction for each one.
Guests at Palazzo Pitti
Adam Elsheimer’s Polyptych of the Holy Cross
curated by Matteo Ceriana
Galleria Palatina di Palazzo Pitti, Sala delle Nicchie
24 February – 5 June 2016
In return for the loan of two works by Pontormo to the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, the Galleria Palatina will be temporarily hosting Adam Elsheimer’s Polyptych of the Holy Cross. The altarpiece, which once formed part of Cosimo II de’ Medici’s collection, will be accompanied by panels illustrating its history, dispersal and reassembly on the basis of archival documents.
He Made Sculpture of Wood, Which He Coloured. Painted Wooden Sculpture in 15th Century Florence.
curated by Alfredo Bellandi with Marta Onali
Galleria degli Uffizi
21 March – 28 August 2016
Painted sculpture, in wood as well as in marble and terracotta, embodied the artistic primacy of sculpture throughout the first half of the 15th century. Showcasing a core of approximately fifty pieces, the exhibition sets out for the very first time to explore the history of painted wooden sculpture in Quattrocento Florence, a city in which the close proximity of painters’, sculptors’ and architects’ workshops was frequently responsible for the direction that an artist’s career and stylistic development would take.
Jesters, Villeins and Players at the Medici Court
curated by Anna Bisceglia, Matteo Ceriana and Simona Mammana
Galleria d’arte moderna di Palazzo Pitti, Andito degli Angiolini
9 May – 11 September 2016
Roughly thirty 17th and 18th century works of art, primarily from the Galleria Palatina’s storage facility, set out to illustrate the bizarre figures that are such a recurrent feature of the Medici collections. These “genre” scenes allowed artists to illustrate – naturally within strictly defined bounds and frequently with educational or moralising intent – those comic aspects of social and court life that were normally held to be base and unseemly. In this context we see the limelight being shone on such marginal and deviant figures as jesters, ignorant or grotesque peasants, dwarves and gamblers both licit and illicit. Putting it in a nutshall, “genre” painting became the medium that allowed art to seek its inspiration in the real world.
A Look at the 20th Century. Italian artists’ drawings from the interwar years
curated by Marzia Faietti and Giorgio Marini, with the assistance of Valentina Martino and Bruno Maria Mascellino and with an introductory essay by Daniele Menozzi
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Sala Edoardo Detti
17 May – 4 September 2016
Some thirty-seven drawings and prints dating roughly from between 1900 and 1930, most of which have never been displayed in public before, include figures, faces and self-portraits oozing with expressive depth and sparking pyschological interaction between the artist and the sitter, and between the sitter and the observer. These works not only reveal the complexity of the first thirty years of the 20th century, they also appear to herald looming tragedy and drama. The artists selected for the exhibition include Jacques Villon, Alberto Giacometti, Anders Zorn, Ram and Thayat, Giovanni Costetti, Giuseppe Lunardi, Pietro Bugiani, Kurt Craemer, Primo Conti, Giuseppe Lanza del Vasto and Marino Marini.
Precious small sculptures in the Medici collections, from Francesco I de’ Medici’s Tribune to the grand ducal treasure
curated by Valentina Conticelli, Riccardo Gennaioli and Fabrizio Paolucci
Museo degli Argenti
21 June – 2 November 2016
The Gallerie degli Uffizi house the most important collection in the world of small sculptures in semi-precious stone carved chiefly in the Hellenistic and Roman eras, an extremely rare area of glyptic art. The skill, lost during the Middle Ages, was rediscovered and given a new lease on life in the Renaissance period. This exhibition – the first ever to explore this specific theme – not only brings together the entire Medici collection of micro-sculptures but also showcases other works of sculpture carved in precious materials in such a way as to offer the visitor comparisons capable of highlighting the unique chromatic, technical and stylistic features of these objets d’art.
Real Time and the Time of Reality. Clocks at Palazzo Pitti from the 18th to the 20th centuries
curated by Simonella Condemi and Enrico Colle
Galleria d’arte moderna di Palazzo Pitti, Sale del Fiorino e della Musica
13 September 2016 – 8 January 2017
The exhibition will comprise a significant selection of roughly eighty clocks out of the almost two hundred pieces in the Palazzo Pitti’s collection, testifying to the passage of time for those whose daily lives were played out in the Florentine palace in the 18th and 19th centuries. The selection of these singular objets d’art will allow visitors to admire the astonishing technical and artistic quality of these timepieces in the various different forms and formats in which they were produced, revealing their duality comprising, on the one hand, an often sophisticated and complex mechanism, and on the other, a case which started out life as a cover for the mechanism but which gradually turned into a work of art in its own right.
Discoveries and Massacres. Ardengo Soffici and Impressionism in Florence
curated by Vincenzo Farinella and Nadia Marchioni
Galleria degli Uffizi
27 September – 8 January 2017
The first ever monographic exhibition to be devoted to Ardengo Soffici (1879–1964) will provide visitors with an opportunity to explore the figure of this painter, writer, polemicist and art critic who played such an active role in his day, coming into contact with, and on occasion even deeply and courageously clashing with, the movements on the Italian and European art scene of the time. The title of the exhibition, Discoveries and Massacres, alludes to the title of Soffici’s collected writings, published between the first and second decades of the 20th century and acknowledged today (together with the cultural initiatives that he promoted and organised, such as the First Italian Exhibition of Impression in Florence in 1910) as marking a crucial contribution to the renewal of Italian art in a 20th century vein. The exhibits on display (from Segantini, Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Degas, Medardo Rosso and De Chirico to Carrà and beyond, in addition to Soffici’s own work), chosen on the basis of Soffici’s explicit predilections and aversions, will be accompanied by critical pieces from his writings on art, ideally accompanying the visitor on a voyage of rediscovery to explore one of the most fertile and productive interpretations of the origins of contemporary art, with its crucial “discoveries” and equally drastic “massacres”.
The Four Continents. Florentine tapestries to cartoons by Giovanni Camillo Sagrestani
curated by Caterina Chiarelli and Daniele Rapino
Galleria Palatina – Sala Bianca
27 September 2016 – 8 January 2017
The exhibition will comprise four dazzling tapestries from the 1720s woven to designs by the painter Giovanni Camillo Sagrestani. One of the finest sets of tapestry ever to emerge from the Medici manufactory, the series was made by the most skilled weavers employed in the workshop at the time, including Victor Demignot who trained in Flanders. The tapestries depict the four continents, their bizarre attributes and fanciful inventions revealing the way in which the 18th century interpreted the world’s different cultural and historical identities. The sumptuous and extremely elegant composition, worthy of the finest contemporary French work, was enormously appreciated at the time, in particular on 20 January 1739 when the set was used as part of the city decorations to mark the triumpal entry into Florence of the new Grand Duke Francesco II of Lorraine and his wife Maria Teresa, the future empress.
Colour’s Revenge Over Line. Venetian drawings from the Ashmolean Museum and the Uffizi
curated by Marzia Faietti, Giorgio Marini and Catherine Whistler
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Sala Edoardo Detti e Sala del Camino
18 October 2016 – 8 January 2017
The exhibition will be highlighting the history of the development of drawing in Venice and its hinterland between the age of Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto and the era of Canaletto, a period during which figurative work was tighly bound to the dynamic of the artist’s workshop. Visitors will be offered an interesting opportunity to explore the specific expressive vocabulary of Venetian drawing through the comparison and contrast of work from the collections of the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi and of Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum.