Depero’s ‘Cavalcata Fantastica’ at Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Depero’s ‘Cavalcata Fantastica’ at Palazzo Medici Riccardi

The colourful, joyful and geometric works marry art, advertising, design and architecture.

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Tue 03 Oct 2023 10:44 AM

Fortunato Depero’s (Fondo, 1892-Rovereto, 1960) Cavalcata Fantastica is on show at Palazzo Medici Riccardi from September 28 to January 28, 2024. Curated by Sergio Risaliti and Eva Francioli, the exhibition highlights key themes of Depero’s artistic production, showcasing masterpieces by the Italian futurist painter, sculptor, writer, and graphic designer.

Depero - Cavalcata Fantastica Ph. Nicola Neri
Ph. Nicola Neri

The carefully curated selection stems from Nitrito in velocità (1932), on loan from the Museo Novecento. The well-known work was donated by Alberto Della Ragione to the city of Florence on the occasion of the terrible flood of 1966, along with 240 other works from his collection. Inside Palazzo Medici Riccardi, where the Medici hosted the innovators of their time in the 15th century, 47 works by Depero are brought together for the first time, including pieces from the Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto.

Fortunato Depero – Cavalcata Fantastica

Taking inspiration from two versions of Nitrito in Velocità, the exhibition is centred around three themes, the first of which is dedicated to studies for sets, with sketches of marionettes similar to those of the Commedia dell’arte. The second part of the exhibition focuses on tapestries, a craft that has a long history in Florence. A highlight of this section is undoubtedly the magnificent Cavalcata Fantastica, which vaunts a great variety of techniques. The final display spotlights Depero’s study of movement and machines, focusing on the myth of progress. The colourful, joyful and geometric works marry art, advertising, design and architecture, exploring urban symbols such as skyscrapers, inspired by his time in the United States, and traditional motifs such as horses, which have proliferated in art history since ancient times.

Depero - Cavalcata Fantastica Ph. Nicola Neri
Depero – Nitrito in Velocità (on the right). Ph. Nicola Neri

Walking through the works, visitors are accompanied by audio, with cheerful clips enhancing works portraying cartoon-like figures with vibrant colours, before you’re led into sounds of revving motors adding context to the urban settings of his more metropolitan works.

Co-curator Sergio Risaliti, commented, “Depero was not only a painter with a great imagination but also a multifaceted creative genius, capable of ranging between set design, weaving, industrial design and advertising…This exhibition features extraordinary works such as I mie Balli Plastici, works for the theatre, tapestries such as Cavalcata Fantastica…and his fascination with the great metropolis of New York, where he arrived in the late twenties”.

Forming part of the Florence Art Week calendar, the exhibition is open every day, except Wednesdays, from 9am to 7pm.

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