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Fortune reveals Florence’s hidden artistic heritage

Author Jane Fortune, Founder and Chair of Advancing Women Artists, told of her search for forgotten women artists of Florence at a recent event at Florence’s British Institute. The public sat on the edge of their seats as Dr. Fortune recounted the quest to safeguard and promote their works of art—many of which remain unseen in the city’s multiple deposits.
The story of Suor Plautilla Nelli is particularly noteworthy. At the time of restoring her Lamentation with Saints in 2006, only three known works were attributed to the artist. As a result of collaborative efforts by Dr. Fortune and various museum directors of the Polo Museale Fiorentino, Nelli’s newly discovered works have increased: there are now 16 works by the artist, many of which have been restored by the Foundation.
Artemisia Gentileschi’s David and Bathsheba, restored in 2008, is also worthy of mention. After its 373-year stint in Pitti’s deposits, it has recently been included in several exhibitions in Italy and can be seen at Palazzo Pitti’s Sala delle Nicchie.
The British Institute lecture proceeded another significant event: the presentation of a newly restored painting by Irene Duclos Parenti, the sole women artist with a work on display at Florence’s Accademia Gallery. Public interest was wide-spread as the audience became more familiar with a significant part of the city’s cultural and artistic heritage. Fortune’s next project? A book on 40 newly discovered ‘invisible works’ in Florence’s Civic Museums. The quest continues.

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