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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A GREAT EXHIBITION IN PALAZZO PITTI: 100 VERY RARE PICTURES TELL THE STORY OF FASHION IN FLORENCE THROUGH THE LENS OF FOTO LOCCHI

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One of Florence’s leading photography archives opens its treasures to the city with this first single-subject exhibition. On 9 January 2017, Fashion in Florence through the lens of Archivio Foto Locchi opened in Palazzo Pitti’s Andito degli Angiolini: 100 very rare pictures taken from the 1930s to ‘70s tell the story of fashion in Florence through the lens of the photographers of Foto Locchi.
The project stems from a collaboration between Archivio Storico Foto Locchi (a cultural patrimony of priceless value comprising more than five million photographs), director of the Uffizi Galleries Eike Schmidt, the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana – thanks to which the exhibition will be inaugurated with an event during the 91st edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo – and the Gruppo Editoriale publishing group, with the intention of promoting the importance of the photography archive and paying tribute to the historic connection between Florence and fashion.

Eike D. Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Gallery: “Today, as the inevitable abstraction of objects and concrete spaces in the digital world creates an unprecedented search for authentic masterpieces and unique places, Florence has the chance to revitalise its specific role as a key player in the textile and apparel industries, which essentially date back to the Renaissance”.

Andrea Cavicchi, president of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana: “The Archivio storico Foto Locchi is the most authentic testament to the birth and success of Made in Italy in the world. Without this documentary heritage, the city of Florence would be poorer. So would the institution I chair, the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana, championed by farsighted public officials who understood, even in 1954, just how important and vital the textile-apparel sector, the leather industry and the creativity of our artisanal products could be—in terms of work, turnover and employment”.

Erika Ghilardi, Archivio Foto Locchi: “This monographic exhibition, the first by the Archivio storico Foto Locchi, held in the halls of the old-guard Palazzo Pitti royals, and its opening during Pitti Uomo 91, is the source of my great pride and sincere excitement for myself and my family. The fashion section is one of the prevalent, important themes in the Archive—an archive whose cultural and visual heritage includes more than 5 million images telling the story of Florence over the last century”.

THE THREE SECTIONS OF THE EXHIBITION
The artisan workshops: That set of workshops dedicated to high craftsmanship since the Middle Ages, which in the twentieth century contributed to the creation of some of the best-known Italian high fashion labels in the world. Already in the Twenties, the legend of Florentine craftsmanship had arrived in the United States: wealthy American heiress turned to Florence to buy up embroidered lingerie, silverware, exquisitely worked leather and straw hats. Emblematic in this context was Salvatore Ferragamo’s decision to settle in Florence after 13 years of success in America. He chose Florence for its beauty as well as to delve into the depths of the specialized crafts that would allow the shoemaker to achieve his goals of excellence.
Fashion in Florence: from the earliest events after World War II to the legendary shows in Palazzo Pitti’s Sala Bianca (1952-1982), the origins of modern fashion in Florence are thanks to the courage of a man who was as courteous as he was severe, a connoisseur of the American market, Giovanni Battista Giorgini, who had made a name for himself in New York as a buyer capable of turning dreams into reality. If Giorgini was the father of Italian fashion, then Florence at that time was the cradle of beauty and charm, of a new style that emanated from the Florentine and international entourage that had formed around the newly born fashion system, as seen in the photography of those days taken by Foto Locchi reporters not only of the catwalks in the Sala Bianca, but also in the private palazzos and historic gardens with their gala dinners, parties and exclusive rendezvous.
The fashion celebrities: The Florentine maisons that birthed the modern history of Italian fashion such as Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Emilio Pucci told by their founders and the celebrities who made them fashion around the world. The deus ex machina of the great Italian designers who showed their collections in the Sala Bianca: Roberto Capucci, Emilio Schuberth, Sorelle Fontana and Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò. Celebrities who had no qualms about taking a chance alongside Giovanni Battista Giorgini and who revolutionized modern Italian clothing starting in Florence. In addition to the special guests who flew in from Paris, like Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli, the foreign aristocracy such as the Duke of Windsor and fated Hollywood stars, from Audrey Hepburn to Paulette Goddard and the divine Maria Callas.

Perusing the immense Archivio and annual agendas, written up daily by photo reporters from the Foto Locchi bottega, brings a constant stream of new discoveries. One example among many, which emerged during the research carried out for this exhibition, is the note dated 6 June 1948, indicating that that evening in the Sala Bianca, a “Gala Evening with Presentation of Models” (film rolls 568 and 569 from 1948). It was, then, a “preliminary” event to the noted fashion shows held regularly in Palazzo Pitti since 22 July 1952.

Accompanying the show is the catalogue published by Gruppo Editoriale featuring the 100 rare pictures on display in the exhibition and contextualized with articles written by Caterina Chiarelli, Eva Desiderio and Stefania Ricci, in addition to an introduction by Eike Schmidt, Andrea Cavicchi and Erika Ghilardi.

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Publiacqua, Toscana Aeroporti, and with the support of Dr. Vranjes, Edra and Caffè Gilli dal 1733 Firenze.

Palazzo Pitti, Andito degli Angiolini, Piazza de’ Pitti 1, 50125 Florence
From 9 January to 5 March 2017
Tuesday to Sunday, 8.45am-6.50pm

ARCHIVIO FOTO LOCCHI
Archivio Storico Foto Locchi is under the protection of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism for its high artistic and documentary value, since it comprises more than five million photographs of the history of Florence and Tuscany from the 1930s to the present day, stored as original negatives. Pictures from the world of fashion, sport, theatre, groundbreaking news and events, as well as fragments of daily life in the past and present. The black-and-white photography of Archivio Storico Foto Locchi convey fleeting feelings and atmospheres, in an extraordinary series of events, emotions and famous visitors from all over the world. The archive came into existence at the heart of the work by the old Foto Locchi photography workshop founded by Tullio Locchi and continued by Silvano Corcos as its soul. Over the years Locchi has grown into a flourishing firm employing more than 30 staff, whose aim remains the same: to document all city events worthy of note. With the arrival of television, the three large screens in piazza della Repubblica played a fundamental role in news reporting at the time. Now Erika Ghilardi, a direct descendent of the Locchi family, manages what can be deemed true world heritage.

FLORENCE:ALL THE EXHIBITIONS IN THE MUSEUMS OF THE GALLERIE DEGLI UFFIZI IN 2016

© Roberto Alborghetti - Florence, 2015

© Roberto Alborghetti – Florence, 2015

© Roberto Alborghetti - Florence, 2015

© Roberto Alborghetti – Florence, 2015

 

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.

 

Splendida Minima.

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.