Roberto Innocenti at Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Roberto Innocenti at Palazzo Medici Riccardi

From February 22-May 26, works by the renowned Florentine illustrator detail literary classics and historical moments.

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Wed 21 Feb 2024 3:36 PM

Reconnect with your childhood by immersing yourself in the alternatively magical and unsettling illustrations by Roberto Innocenti at Palazzo Medici Riccardi. On display from February 22 to May 26, the exhibition titled Illustrare il tempo (Illustrating time), is set up in the Sala Fabiani rooms, with masterpieces like Pinocchio, Cinderella, A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker interpreted by the renowned Montespertoli-based artist.

Roberto Innocenti La prima stella a Finisterre
Roberto Innocenti ‘La prima stella a Finisterre’

Curated by Paola Vassalli and Valentina Zucchi and organized by MUS.E, the thoughts and works of Roberto Innocenti are the subject of the display, with the quote “I get lost in words. In the figures, however, I find myself” giving us insight into Innocenti’s passion for his craft. Born in Bagno a Ripoli in 1940, the self-taught artist is familiar to many Italians, and not only, with his works forming part of childhood, stimulating the imaginations of generations.

The attention to the characters, architecture and landscape is what defines the works, with short stories by Camilleri and other classics rendered in his unmistakable style which is imbued with Florentine tradition and a very modern cinematic vision. Over 80 works are on show, from his best-known and most-loved fairytale illustrations to profound and uneasy explorations of poignant historical moments. Letizia Perini, Culture Councilor for the City of Florence, commented, “Rendering the profound nature of a tale into an image, even when it is cruel, requires extraordinary sensitivity and art”. His take on Little Red Riding Hood is set in a large, modern city, like any other, her grandmother is a hologram and the woods are a shopping centre, with his interest in social issues noted in the details. Co-curator Valentina Zucchi elaborates, “Roberto Innocenti’s paintings are works of art. They investigate space and time, giving us glimpses of the world – whether real or imaginary – and inviting us to read.”

Roberto Innocenti
Roberto Innocenti

His White Rose (1985) was translated into 20 languages, with Erika’s Story and The House in Time bringing him international acclaim. The multi-layered works often crystallize hard truths, with perceptive devices, metaphors, ironic quotations and investigations into the effects of time shared with attentive viewers. Innocenti tells us, “That’s what I do; I watch global situations from a detached perspective. When a story becomes choral, I use this trick: I go farther away to have a snapshot of everyone on the same level; they’ll all have the same importance”.

Deeply affected by World War II, which haunted his childhood, Innocenti began in graphics and animation, before acquiring success in illustration, becoming a leading figure on the international scene. In 2008, he was the only Italian recipient of the Hans Christian Anderson Award, with many other prestigious prizes to his name.

At the press conference, co-curator Paola Vassilli observed that “kids are small, but they don’t think small,” something that Innocenti respects, inviting viewers of all ages to laugh, cry, and learn through his works.


Opening hours: 9am-7pm, Monday to Sunday. Closed on Wednesdays.

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