FLORENCE: GREAT EXHIBITION OF THE MASTERPIECES RECENTLY ACQUIRED BY THE ACCADEMIA GALLERY

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Cecilie Hollberg, director of the Accademia Gallery in Florence, is pleased to inaugurate the rich program of events organized by the Museum in 2019 with the 2016-2018 New Acquisitions exhibition. The exhibition, which can be viewed from January 22nd to May 5th 2019, presents some masterpieces that have merged into the Museum’s permanent collections thanks to the commitment of various organizations, expertly coordinated by the Director, who also conceived and curated the exhibition project.

The aim of the exhibition is to make the general public understand how the Accademia Gallery of Florence, universally known for its impressive collection, is constantly engaged, not only in conservation activities, but also to increase its artistic heritage. With the New Acquisitions exhibition, it is possible to see how this intense work took place on several fronts and directions following different paths: four fragments of an altarpiece were purchased by the Gallery on the antiquarian market; a sculpture by Lorenzo Bartolini came thanks to a generous donation; two tables have been entrusted to the Gallery after confiscation by the Patrimonio dei Carabinieri; four paintings, finally assigned to the Gallery, come from the deposits of the Certosa di Firenze.

The amazing works with a golden background like the two saints by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini and the Madonna dell’Umiltà of the Master of the Bracciolini Chapel, were entrusted to the Gallery after the brilliant confiscation by the Operative Department of the Carabinieri Command of the Cultural Heritage Protection Unit of Rome. The two tables were still in Florence in 2003 when they were illegally exported to Switzerland. The investigations, initiated in 2006 by the TPC Operative Department of the Carabinieri Command under the coordination of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Rome, have allowed the identification of a group of Italian professionals and a London antique dealer specialized in the illicit exportation of cultural heritage. Thanks to the collaboration with the Swiss Judicial Authority it was possible to seize the works and repatrate them in Italy in 2009.

Also worthy of mention is the beautiful bust of the playwright Giovan Battista Niccolini (1782-1861) by Lorenzo Bartolini. The sculpture was exhibited during the last edition of the International Antiques Fair in Florence and was generously purchased and donated to the Museum by the Friends of the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze immediately after its foundation. The history of the work is shrouded in mystery, in fact, it was not present in the study of the sculptor during the drafting of the inventory compiled at the time of his death but appears, a few years later in Florence, on the occasion of the Italian Agricultural Exposition, industrial and artistic of 1861. Given for lost, the bust has reappeared on the antiquarian market after more than a century and a half and, thanks to the generous donation, it can be definitively exposed together with its plaster model, already kept in the Museum.