Spring into art
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Spring into art

EXHIBITS IN FLORENCE As winter gives way to spring, the city bursts into bloom with art. From the great masters of the Renaissance to the most daring experimentations of contemporary artists, the season holds something for everyone to discover.   CURRENTLY OPEN OR OPENING IN MARCH The striking and bizarre

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Thu 14 Mar 2013 1:00 AM

EXHIBITS IN FLORENCE

As winter gives way to spring, the city bursts into bloom with art. From the great masters of the Renaissance to the most daring experimentations of contemporary artists, the season holds something for everyone to discover.

 

CURRENTLY OPEN OR OPENING IN MARCH

The striking and bizarre works by Salvador Dalí, the master of surrealism, are currently on display in The Dalí Universe (Palazzo Medici Riccardi; through May 25, www.thedaliuniverse.com). Dalí’s approach to sculpture, graphic, furniture, glass and illustrations conveys the wide extent of his work. (See page 16 for the review.)

 

Florence has extended a helping hand to Ferrara, exhibiting some important works of art after damage caused by last year’s earthquake to the city’s Filippo De Pisis Museum of Modern and Contemporary art. The exhibit, From Boldini to De Pisis (Pitti Palace; until May 19; www.daboldiniadepisis.it), displays more than 60 paintings and sculptures by Giovanni Boldini, Gaetano Previati, Achille Funi, Carlo Carrà, Roberto Melli and Filippo De Pisis, including still lifes, portraits and views of Paris.

 

From the Hands of Roberto Capucci: Molding Textiles (Villa Bardini; through 2013; www.fondazionerobertocapucci.com) displays 27 of the fabric architect’s intensely colorful explorations of the ways fabrics such as taffeta, velvet, organza, georgette, and silk, can be draped and sculpted into swirls, pleats and fantastic shapes.

 

The annual series of works from Florence’s state museums has just begun. Norma and Capriccio: Spanish Artists in Italy in the Early Mannerist Period (Uffizi Gallery; March 5–May 26), the first exhibition in the Un Anno ad Arte programme (www.unannoadarte.it), focuses on Spanish artists who came to Italy in the early 1500s, drawn to the thriving artistic culture of Florence, Rome and Naples. Michelangelo famously said, ‘No nation and no people (other than one or two Spaniards) can perfectly assimilate or imitate the Italian manner of painting (which is that of ancient Greece) without being immediately and easily recognised as foreigners, however much they may try or work at it.’ Admire the Italian careers of Spanish artists Alonso Berruguete, Pedro Machuca and others, and judge for yourself whether Michelangelo was right.

 

Next up in the series is Luxury and Elegance: French Porcelain at Court and the Ginori Manufactory (Silver Museum; March 19–June 23). While art enthusiast Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister, was grand duchess of Tuscany (1809–1814), her patronage prompted artists, sculptors, painters and musicians to flock to Florence, creating a dynamic artistic climate in which the Florentine porcelain firm Richard Ginori played a crucial role. As the company, now bankrupt, faces possible closure (see feature article in TF 178), this exhibit offers an opportunity to ponder its important legacy.

 

Encompassing another vibrantly artistic period of Florence’s history is the exhibit that focuses on Giovanni, Lorenzo the Magnificent’s second son, who became the first Medici pope 500 years ago. During his papacy, hailed as a ‘golden age,’ Giovanni encouraged artists, poets and humanists for a revival of the classical era. Amid Medici Splendour: Popo Leo X and Florence (Museum of the Medici Chapels; March 25–October 6) features works by Sandro Botticelli, the Ghirlandaio family, Perugino, Raphael, the Della Robbias and other leading artists of the time.

 

Two exhibits opening in March at Palazzo Strozzi look at beauty then and now. The Springtime of the Renaissance: Sculpture and the Arts in Florence 1400–1460 (Palazzo Strozzi; March 23–August 18; www.palazzostrozzi.org)  shows what are considered to be the artistic miracles of their time. It is particularly focused on the works of Donatello, including his newly restored statue of St. Louis (see a video at http://tinyurl.com/bq639u6), Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Masaccio and others. Fast-forward to modern day with An Idea of Beauty (Centre of Contemporary Art La Strozzina; March 29–July 28; www.strozzina.org) as contemporary art takes the stage with the works of eight international artists who explore diverse ideas of beauty, even that which is found in mundane objects, moments or gestures.

 

UPCOMING

From the Fleur de Lis to the David: Civic Art in Florence from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

(Accademia Gallery; May 14–December 8), also part of Un Anno ad Arte, will present breathtaking pieces originally commissioned to colorfully decorate the palaces of Florence. The extensive diversity of images—civic heraldry, religion and the city—promises new insights on the propaganda tactics of those who once ruled Florence prior to the rise of the Medici family.

 

 

Perplexing, terrifying, delightful: dreams have always intrigued. The Renaissance Dream (Palatine Gallery, Pitti Palace; May 21–September 15) explores the dream as a recurring theme through ancient mythology to the culture of the Renaissance. Beginning with nightfall and ending as dawn approaches, viewers will move through varied representations of dreams by Michelangelo, Bertoldo di Giovanni, Francesco Colonna, Raphael, Correggio and others.

 

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