Milton H. Greene ~ Joshua Greene and Marilyn
Style icon, movie diva, femme fatale, myth of female beauty and sensuality: the world's fascination with Marilyn Monroe has never been stronger than now, 50 years after her death. To mark the event, Ferragamo Museum's current exhibit, Marilyn, tells the story of her fame and pain through photos, movie clips, curvy clothes and sexy shoes. In fact it was these very shoes, more than 30 pairs created for Monroe by Ferragamo in the 50s, that helped form her image and raise her to iconic status around the world. As Monroe herself once said, ‘Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.' She remained a loyal customer to Ferragamo throughout her life, ordering her shoes from the Park Avenue store in New York, and made the brand's 4-inch heel pumps famous by wearing them in her best-known films, such as Some Like It Hot. In tribute to this timeless myth, Ferragamo is exclusively re-issuing a selection of shoe styles designed in the second half of the 1950s.
Dozens of Monroe's outfits are also on display, worn on the sets of her most important movies, as well as Andy Warhol's extraordinary Four Marilyns in Black, on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Numerous iconic photos taken by photography's greats, such as Cecil Beaton, Bert Stern and André de Dienes, show Monroe, the most photographed woman of the twentieth century, in classic poses, transforming her sensuality in images of pure innocence.
Several diary entries and her date book give visitors a glimspe of the ‘other' Marilyn Monroe, the modern woman ‘bursting with energy, talent and confidence,' as Cristina Comencini writes in the catalogue, ‘alongside brusque moments of desperation, fragility, loss of self-esteem and fears ... a perfect being aware of herself, her power, and yet, at the same time, a little girl who was wronged so many years ago.'
As Florence celebrates the Year of Vespucci and the ties, both past and present, that link the city to the New World, this exhibit allows us to see Marilyn Monroe as never before: as fine art. Photos of the blond bombshell are placed next to and compared with Botticelli's famous Birth of Venus from 1484, Boucher's eighteenth-century drawing of a sensuous nude, marble statues of nymphs, and paintings marked ‘after Leonardo da Vinci,' on loan from the Uffizi gallery.
Curators Stefania Ricci and Sergio Risaliti, along with the architects who designed the exhibit layout, Fabio Leoncini and Silvia Cilembrini, help us to see Monroe not only as a movie star and subject of Andy Warhol's pop art, but as an eternal Renaissance beauty. The exhibit probes the visitor to consider Monroe's greatness and the idea that it may lie in her dual nature as both a spiritual feminine myth and a more modern pop-art icon.
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo,
via Tornabuoni 2
Until January 28, 2013