Category Archives: Arts

Arts and culture from Florence, Italy

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester: the famous manuscript returns to Florence after a quarter of a century as part of a spectacular exhibition.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester back to Florence

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester: the famous manuscript returns to Florence after a quarter of a century as part of a spectacular exhibition.

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Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa had thyroid problem, US researchers say

The Mona Lisa had thyroid problems that account for her yellow skin, thinning hair and a possible goitre on her neck, two US researchers say.

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Gong by Eliseo Mattiacci

Gong, Eliseo Mattiacci at Forte di Belvedere

FLORENCE, ITALY – Following the celebrated monographic retrospective exhibitions of Giuseppe Penone, Antony Gormley and Jan Fabre, and of the collective Ytalia, this year the battlements and the villa of Forte di Belvedere in Florence are hosting Gong, an imposing retrospective exhibition dedicated to Eliseo Mattiacci (Cagli, 1940).

Mattiacci is one of contemporary art’s major protagonists, included among the pioneers of Italian avant-garde of the late Sixties, craftsman of experimentation and renewal in sculpture, inspired inventor of cosmological iconographies and of new spatial and conceptual relationships between art and nature, between man and the environment.

A monumental presentation of twenty sculptures exhibited outside the fort and within the villa, in addition to an extensive collection of drawings, about eighty, which, for the first time ever, allow the public to admire the always supreme graphic activity of Mattiacci.

It is an almost shamanic exercise, aimed at exploring the sublime of the cosmos, the orbits of the planets and stars, the rhythms and geometries that belong to the infinite universe, so as to draw stellar maps that today, just like millions of years ago, also function in symbolic, ritualistic terms.

From his earliest works, iron sculptures that are actual assemblies of a new, as yet unseen archaism, Mattiacci has understood how to blend and reunite gestures that are human and those of the metaphysical imagination with the unfathomable nature of life in the universe and with the immeasurable energy of matter and among the stars, with the cosmic cycle of life and death, that of being and nothingness, the forces that are visible and those not still invisible in space and time, such as magnetic attraction and gravity.

“I feel attracted by the sky with its stars and planets and all that lies beyond, by our galaxies, it’s an imagination that goes beyond, as if it seeks challenging imagination itself, as if in a dream. I would like to launch one of my sculptures into orbit in outer space. It would truly be a magnificent dream to know that one of my spatial shapes is orbiting out there,” stated Mattiacci, to whom personal exhibitions have been held in various museums and foundations around the world, including the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, the Kunstforum Stadtische Galerie in Munich, the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, the Institut Culturel Italien in Paris, the Fondazione Prada in Milan, the Museion in Bolzano, the Fattoria di Celle – Gori Collection in Pistoia, the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles and Toronto and the MART – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto.

Located within the interior spaces of the Fortress, important historical works such as the Tubo (Tube) (1967)  can be found. This work, measuring approximately sixty metres of extension, will be presented along with – for the first time since the exhibition at the Galleria L’Attico in Rome –  the Installation Recupero di un mito (Recovery of a Myth) (1975), as will also be found the sound installation Echi di suoni e cani che abbaiano (Echoes of sounds and dogs barking) (1983).

Also exhibited will be the early works such as Scultura lunatica (Lunatic sculpture) of 1962. Regarding the most recent works, an entire room will host the installation with the planets in aluminium on the layered surface in lead pellets La mia idea del cosmo (My idea of the cosmos) (2001), while the large propellers in aluminium of Dinamica Verticale (Vertical Dynamic) (2013) will dominate the spaces on the ground floor.

Continuing on the first floor, the public will intercept a sequence of rooms dedicated entirely to drawing, a true “exhibition within the exhibition” that will systematically examine the dense seasons of this constant and yet so little probed practice of the work of Mattiacci.

Drawings will be exhibited that evoke the atmosphere of the performance of the Seventies, the cycle Predisporsi ad un capolavoro cosmico-astronomico (Preparing yourself for a cosmic-astronomical masterpiece) of 1980-1981, the frottages on metal of the Campi magnetici (Magnetic fields), the Cosmogonies, up to the recent Corpi Celesti (Celestial Bodies) of 2005-2015.

Upon leaving the villa, in the large terraced gardens of Forte di Belvedere, one finds the large works of corten steel of cosmic astronomical inspiration, with one side oriented toward the great Renaissance construction site which is the city of Florence, and the other side directed toward the hills that host the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, not far from the final residence of Galileo Galilei.

Making  use of the generous loans from public and private collections, in this system of spatial references the works will be arranged starting from the end of the Eighties up until the most recent years, such as the two totems Verso il cielo (Toward the sky) (1987), Equilibri precari (Precarious equilibria) quasi impossibile (almost impossible) (1991), Segno australe – Croce del Sud (Southern Sign – Southern Cross) (1991), Gong (1993), Vie de cielo (Sky roads) (1995), the disks of Ordine cosmico (Cosmic order) (1995-96), Totem con nuvola (Totem with cloud) (1996), and the as yet unseen Scultura che guarda (Sculpture that watches) (1997-2013).

The exhibition is made possible thanks to the fundamental support of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena – main sponsor of the event – and thanks to the sponsorship of Carpisa, to the technical sponsorship of Forma and with the support of Galleria Poggiali.LAST ENTRANCE AT 7.00PM. CLOSED ON MONDAYS.

Gong exhibit – Forte Belvedere – Open until October 14, 2018. Admission: 2 Euros.

The Men and the horses exhibit at the Boboli garden

Men and horses story at the Limonaia in Boboli Garden

from 26 June to 14 October, the exhibition Men and horses sets out to explore this age-old bond through a selection of items, often overlooked in exhibitions to the benefit of more eye-catching works, illustrating the myriad facets of a relationship that impacted every aspect of daily life.

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Steve McCurry, fisherman paddles his boat along Inle Lake

Steve McCurry celebrated in a 100 shots-exhibition

FLORENCE, ITALY – 40 years of activity the master of world photography Steve McCurry celebrated in a 100 shots-exhibition at the suggestive and fascinating Villa Bardini, Florence.

Until September 16th the exhibition ‘Steve McCurry. Icons’, curated by Biba Giacchetti, collects the 100 shots documenting the best of what the American artist has achieved in 40 years of activity.

The exhibition takes visitors on a symbolic journey into the complex universe of experiences and emotions that characterize his images and which will touch countries such as India, Afghanistan, Burma, Japan, Cuba and Brazil.

Do not miss the portrait of Sharbat Gula, the Afghan girl that McCurry has photographed in the Peshawar refugee camp in Pakistan and who, with her big green eyes and sad look, has become an absolute icon of world photography.

Within the exhibition, the film is shown, produced by National Geographic, dedicated to the long search that allowed to find, 17 years later, ‘the Afghan girl’ now adult.

Steve McCurry Icons – From 15 June to 16 September
Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio, 2 and Via dei Bardi 1rosso – 50125 Florence
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 7 pm (last admission at 6 pm)
Monday closed

Tickets cost: Full € 10.00, Reduced € 5.00. Every Wednesday in August free admission for everyone to Villa Bardini and to the exhibition ‘Icons’ by Steve McCurry.

The third summer festival Uffizi Live is on

Third edition of Uffizi Live is on. It’s the summer festival of live performances taking place on each Tuesday evening from 7pm to 9pm from 12th June to 25th September.

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The new room of Leonardo da Vinci at the Uffizi

FLORENCE, ITALY – After the arrangement of the new rooms dedicated to Caravaggio and the 17th-century painting, and the one devoted to Michelangelo and Raphael last month, a new room hosting Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings has been inaugurated on 9th July 2018 at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

According to Vasari, it was 1504 when young Raphael arrived in Florence in order to admire Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s preparatory cartoons for the two famous Battles of Anghiari and Cascina respectively, which were to be frescoed in Palazzo Vecchio.

Hence it was an extraordinary and unique moment in history, when the three geniuses happened to meet together in the city of Florence. And, as it is, from today those three giants of the Renaissance can finally meet again and be admired in two new adjacent rooms on the second floor of the Uffizi.

As in the case of Michelangelo and Raphael, also Leonardo’s paintings are preserved in special climate-controlled cases saving the artworks from the humidity and heat produced by tourists’ flow. Besides their glasses are anti-glare too, which allows visitors to get so extremely close to the paintings to almost touch them.

On the left is the Baptism of Christ, executed for the Church of San Salvi in Florence in 1475/78, where young Leonardo collaborated with his master Andrea del Verrocchio realizing the angel in profile.

On the opposite wall is the Annunciation, from the Church of Monte Oliveto, where the angel is so real and alive to project his own shadow over the meadow in bloom while he is landing and closing his fans, apparently reproduced after studying real birds’ anatomy. On the background is a sea landscape with mountains, one of the most beautiful ever represented by the artist in his career.

In the centre is the recently restored Adoration of the Magi, commissioned by the Augustinians for their Church of San Donato a Scopeto and left unfinished when Leonardo had to move to Milan in 1482. Yet it is this very state that allows to follow Leonardo’s mind’s creative processes, in all his sketches, ideas, second thoughts and reconsiderations.

“The new arrangement – says Director Eike Schmidt – allows a slower and more thoughtful visit in which it is possible to compare and understand the stylistic development of young Leonardo. And it is also part of those necessary changes the museum is undergoing in order to be more informative, clear and comprehensible at large”.

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The entrance of the Galleria dell'Accademia

Galleria dell’Accademia, Thursday opening until 10 pm

The Galleria dell’Accademia Gallery in Florence, the art museum hosting Michelangelo’s signature sculpture of David, has introduced a weekly special summer evening opening.

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Piero della Francesca's Resurrection restored

Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection restored

After a three-year-long restoration, Renaissance master Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection can once again be admired in its original glory at the civic museum of Sansepolcro.

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Michelangelo self-portrait found in poetess sketch

Michelangelo may have hidden a self-portrait in a sketch of an aristocratic woman poetess friend held in the British Museum, a new study says.

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