Exceptional Florentines

Annual awards ceremony of Advancing Women Artists Foundation

Editorial Staff
October 11, 2012


The cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine, home to Florence's famed Brancacci Chapel, recently hosted a gala honouring contemporary women who have made outstanding contributions to Florence's artistic heritage.


Organized by the Advancing Women Artists Foundation, the evening featured a presentation of the foundation's upcoming restoration at the Carmine: a monument by nineteenth-century Tuscan sculptor Félicie de Fauveau.


The foundation's Nelli Award, named for Florence's first known woman painter, Suor Plautilla Nelli, was presented to Dr. Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi for her exceptional leadership as director of the Bargello Museum, a post she has held since 2001.


English painting conservator Nicola Ann MacGregor was honoured with the Outstanding Restorer Award, in recognition of her 40-year career in Florence, where she has restored the likes of Gentile da Fabriano, Botticelli, Pollaiolo and Artemisia Gentileschi.


Florentine contemporary artist Donatella Mei was honoured with the Simonetta Vespucci Award, named for Botticelli's muse. Mei, who adopts various mediums to create stunning Plexiglas light sculptures, is one of the few contemporary women artists whose work is exhibited at Florence's Modern Art Gallery (Her sculpture Escape from the Uffizi is on display in Sala della Musica).


Friends of Florence founder Countess Simonetta Brandolini D'Adda received the Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici Patroness of the Arts Award for her outstanding contributions to Florence's artistic heritage. Friends of Florence, the nonprofit organization that she founded in 1998, has funded the restoration of the 22 major paintings flanking Michelangelo's David in the Galleria dell' Accademia, as well as the diagnostic analyses needed for the restoration of the statute itself. The Uffizi's Niobe room and its entire Tribune were restored by the Friends of Florence, which also recently funded a stunning restoration of Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise.


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