THE VASARI CORRIDOR IN FLORENCE WILL REOPEN IN 2021 (THE VIDEO)

 

The so-called Vasari Corridor linking the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace in Florence will reopen in 2021 after an 18-month, 10-million euro renovation project, officials said on Monday. The link between the two monuments was closed in 2016 for safety reasons. The executive project for the renovation was presented on Monday by Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt.
In the coming months a tender will be put out and, once assigned, it will be possible to start work. It is estimated that, once reopened, the Vasari Corridor (Italian: Corridoio Vasariano) will attract 500,000 visitors a year. The Vasari Corridor is an enclosed passageway which begins on the south side of the Palazzo Vecchio, joins the Uffizi Gallery, crosses the Lungarno dei Archibusieri and then follows the north bank of the River Arno until it crosses the Ponte Vecchio.
The corridor covers part of the facade of the church of Santa Felicita before crossing rows of houses in the Oltrarno district to finally reach the Pitti Palace. The Corridor houses hundreds works of art, many of which are self-portraits.

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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.

UFFIZI GALLERY: A GREAT EXHIBITION ON ARTISTIC EXCHANGES BETWEEN FLORENCE AND THE ISLAMIC WORLD

This sumptuous exhibition of Islamic art (Florence, until September 23, 2018) is curated by Giovanni Curatola and organised by the Uffizi in partnership with the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the exhibition’s other venue. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to discover the knowledge, exchange, dialogue and mutual influence that existed between the arts of East and West. It is the result of an international scholarly advisory board which has been working with dedication for two years to select the exhibits and to prepare the catalogue with essays rich in scientific and historical research, designed to illustrate the extremely important role that Florence played in interfaith and intercultural exchange between the 15th and the early 20th centuries, not to mention Florence’s age-old interest in the Islamic world, which is apparent as early as in the diaries of Florentine merchants like Simone Sigoli, Leonardo Frescobaldi and Giorgio Gucci who travelled to the Holy Land in 1384 and also visited Cairo and Damascus, remarking in amazement on the sheer quantity and outstanding beauty of the items they saw.

The leading role in this joint venture by the Uffizi and the Bargello is played by Islamic art with its superb carpets, its damascened acquamaniles and vases (using a particular a metalworking technique to achieve polychrome decoration), its enamelled glass, its rock crystal, its ivory and its lustreware.

Florence is home to an extremely important collection of Islamic art comprising almost 3,300 pieces, all of them items of exceptional importance, donated by Lyon-born merchant Louis Carrand in 1889 to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, already at that time one of Europe’s leading museums. Its Islamic Room was finally arranged in 1982 by engineering a dialogue between the best of Islamic art and the work of Donatello and other masters of Renaissance statuary.

The exhibition is to be held in two venues. The section in the Bargello explores a crucial moment in the history of research, collecting and museography at the turn of the 19th century, whereas the Uffizi explore the interaction between East and West in art and the appeal of Islamic art as revealed, for example, by the Arabic script used in the haloes of the figures of the Virgin and St. Joseph in Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi, by Cristofano dell’Altissimo’s series of portraits commissioned by Paolo Giovio, by superb examples of the Islamic metalwork that was already so popular in Lorenzo the Magnificent’s day and by ceramics from the East or from Moorish Spain decorated with the coats-of-arms of Florentine aristocratic families. Or indeed by the textiles and large carpets from Mamluk Egypt woven at the turn of the 15th century that were rapidly snapped up by the Medici Grand Dukes, by the glass and metalware that had such a profound influence on coeval Italian production, and last but by no means least, by the splendid manuscripts, illuminated and otherwise – including the pages of the oldest manuscript of Persian King Firdūsī’s Shahnameh or Book of Kings, dated 1217, from the collection of the Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze – and the Eastern writings, rare both in date and in provenance, from the collection of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana.

All in all, a varied, mesmerising and spectacular journey exploring centuries of cultural exchange and cross-contamination, enriched with loans from leading museums both in Italy and abroad.

Islamic Art and Florence from the Medici to the 20th century has been organised by the Uffizi and the Bargello with important international loans and loans from other Florentine institutions (Museo Stibbert, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Museo Bardini and the Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi which houses part of the Bardini bequest) which are, in their turn, staging multi-faceted displays of Islamic art on their own premises. These institutions are described in a brochure also published in digital format, which can be downloaded from the attachment below.

Also, for the duration of the exhibition, the two Florentine museums will be offering visitors the chance to purchase a combined ticket for € 29.00, (concessions €14.50) valid for three days, admitting the holder to the Uffizi, the Bargello, the Islamic Art and Florence from the Medici to the 20th century exhibition and the Museo Archeologico di Firenze.

The “Islamic Art and Florence from the Medici to the 20th century” exhibition will be running simultaneously and in collaboration with an exhibition entitled “The Montefeltro and the Islamic East” in the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche.

UFFIZI GALLERY (FLORENCE): A NEW GREAT ROOM DEVOTED TO THE GENIUS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI

 

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After the unveiling of a new arrangement of masterpieces by Caravaggio and other XVII Century artists and the new room dedicated to Michelangelo and Raffaello, Uffizi Gallery continues its renewal with a room devoted to Leonardo da Vinci.

 

The new Leonardo Room at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery (Room 35 in the West Wing), officially opened yesterday, displays three paintings by Leonardo, all of which were made originally for churches, hence why the room’s walls are painted pale gray using a spatula effect. To ensure optimal conditions, the paintings are contained in special glass display cases that reduce light refraction without detracting from the visitor experience.

 

On the left stands The Baptism of Christ, painted for the San Salvi Church in 1475-78, when Leonardo was still working with Andrea del Verrocchio. The painting highlights the divisions in tasks within the workshop in terms of style and technique between the master and his pupil.

 

The Annunciation can be seen on the facing wall. Hailing from the church of Monteoliveto, the angel casts its shadow over the flowering meadow, closing its wings upon landing like a bird.

 

In the centre of the room visitors can wonder at the Adoration of the Magi, commissioned for the church of San Donato a Scopeto, and which was left unfinished when Leonardo went to Milan in 1482 to work for Ludovico Sforza. The painting underwent a five-year restoration at Florence’s Opificio delle Pietre Dure, financed by the Friends of the Uffizi. The altarpiece offers insight into Da Vinci’s creative process with some parts more advanced, while other brush strokes point to an infancy in style and technique.

 

Eike Schmdt, director of the Uffizi Galleries,  explained the draw of the Leonardo Room. “The new arrangement has been designed not only to permit a slow, meditated visit, whereby visitors can compare the art and understand the stylistic evolution of Leonardo in his youth, but it is also correct in terms of art history, placing the artist’s works immediately after the rooms dedicated to the Florentine Quattrocento…It is part of a set of changes implemented to adjust the Uffizi to the needs of understanding by visitors as well as adhering to the museum’s educational principles.”

FLORENCE: IN BOBOLI GARDEN AN EXHIBITION ON THE AGE-OLD BOND BETWEEN MEN AND HORSES

 

The Limonaia in Boboli Garden is hosting an exhibition on the Age-Old Bond between men and horses The horse was one of the last beasts to be tamed by man.

It was only in the latter part of the fourth millennium BC, somewhere on the central Asian tundra, that the horse ceased to a mere prey and its fate began to interweave ever more closely with that of man.

Curated by Lorenza Camin and Fabrizio Paolucci and hosted in the 18th century Limonaia in the Boboli Garden in Florence from 26 June to 14 October, the exhibition sets out to explore this age-old bond through a selection of items, often overlooked in exhibitions to the benefit of more eye-catching works, illustrating the myriad facets of a relationship that impacted every aspect of daily life.

“The place where the taming of the horse first occurred and was further developed is still one of the most hotly debated issues in scholarly literature today. But it would seem illogical to imagine that the horse began its age-old history of coexistence with man anywhere other than in eastern European and the Eurasian tundra”, Camin and Paolucci write in the catalogue published by Sillabe.

Tools required to master the beast (bits, snaffle bits, spurs, stirrups and so forth) are showcased alongside works of art selected to illustrate, as directly and as realistically as possible, the leading role played by the horse in the ancient world. The circa 100 items on display, from dozens of Italian and foreign museums, cover a period of over 2,000 years stretching from the Early Iron Age to the later Middle Ages.

The numerous items on public display for the very first time include the Populonia Gig. This extremely rare example of an Etruscan carriage, discovered in the so-called “Fossa della Biga” (or “Two-Horse Chariot Ditch”) in the mid-20th century, has been reassembled following recent restoration commisssioned expressly for this exhibition. The gig, in wood, iron and bronze and dateable to the early 5th century BC, was a slow vehicle used to carry personalities of rank and for wedding processions and funeral corteges.

As Eike Schmidt, Director of the Gallerie degli Uffizi, so effectively puts it:  “The whole concept of this exhibition appears to be encapsulated in one of the exhibits on display, a splendid pair of 4th century BC bronze and ivory chanfrons designed to protect the horse’s forehead, nose and muzzle: the silhouette of the metal sheeting, shaped and embossed follows the outline of the horse’s elongated anatomy, but on the inside, far from displaying the anatomy of a horse, it depicts the features of a human face sporting a helmet on its head. The horse and its rider become a single, fused being. From the Old Stone Age to the end of the 16th century, the exhibition explores this relationship which has marked the history of mankind from the outset and which is still so surprisingly relevant to our own time”.

“Riding Through Time”, a multivision product devised and directed by Gianmarco D’Agostino, completes the exhibition with some 300 square metres of screenings. The visual correspondence between the exhibits on display and images from life paired with an immersive soundtrack will unquestionably enrich the visitor’s exploration of the friendship between man and horse down the centuries.

The exhibition catalogue is published by Sillabe.

FLORENCE: NEW HALL AT THE UFFIZI WITH PIECES THAT ARE “BOMBS IN THE HISTORY OF ART”

Sala Raffaello Michelangelo (2)Sala Raffaello Michelangelo (3)Sala Raffaello Michelangelo (4)

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The Uffizi’s Director, Eike Schmidt

Sala Raffaello Michelangelo (6)

There’s a new  “room” at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, one with a striking visual design to focus the eye on Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni. Also given pride of place is Raphael’s Madonna del Cardellino and other pieces by Raphael and Fra Bartolomeo. Eleven pieces in total have been called ‘bombs in the history of art’ by the Uffizi’s Director, Eike Schmidt.

The works of Michelangelo and Raphael are exhibited together in the same hall, in the large hall number 41 of the west corridor, which until October 2016 hosted the paintings by Sandro Botticelli, re-upholstered in new spaces. So, a new exhibition was born to make the diversity of artistic voices and exchanges between Raphael and Michelangelo, who  were contemporaneously in Florence from 1504 to 1508.

Together with the adjacent Sala di Leonardo, which will open in a few weeks, the new room that unites the masterpieces of Raphael and Michelangelo celebrates the truly unique period in the history of mankind, when in the city, in a few years, the most great artists of the world created the iconic works that today are part of the universal idea of the Renaissance in Italy.

FLORENCE: LEONARDO DA VINCI’S ADORATION OF THE MAGI HAS RETURNED TO UFFIZI GALLERY AFTER RESTORATION

Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi has recovered much of its original colouring after a painstaking restoration. The artwork has returned to Florence’s Uffizi Gallery after being taken to the Opificio Delle Pietre Dure institute for restoration in 2011 due to serious deterioration of the surface.
The painting will be the star of a special show opening on Tuesday after the restoration conducted with the help of the financial support of the Amici degli Uffizi (Friends of the Uffizi) association.

The panel was commissioned from the Augustinian Friars for the church of San Donato in Scopeto in 1481. The artist left it unfinished after moving to Milan in 1482, prompting the friars to ask Filippino Lippi to produce another altarpiece on the same subject. That work was completed in 1496. Leonardo’s painting, the biggest survivor panel of the master at 246 x 243 cm, was housed at the Benci family’s properties in Florence for some time before entering the Medici collections.

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