All posts filed under: Arts

The Bill Viola exhibit in Florence and a short video of The Deluge

From 10 March to 23 July 2017 the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi introduces Bill Viola, a significant exhibition celebrating this unchallenged master of video art, presenting works that span his long career, and which resonate with the architecture of Palazzo Strozzi. In order to create a unique experience, the exhibition will also include masterpieces of the Renaissance, such as, Pontormo, Masolino da Panicale, Paolo Uccello and Lukas Cranach.  Born in New York in 1951, Bill Viola is internationally recognised as one of the most important contemporary artists, producing video installations, sound environments and performances that offer the public profound experiences of immersion in space, image and sound. In exploring spirituality, experience and perception, Viola observes mankind itself; people, bodies and faces are the leading players in his works, with their poetic and strongly symbolic style in which man is called on to interact with such forces and opposing energies of nature as water and fire, light and dark, the cycle of life and the cycle of death and rebirth. As the artist has stated: “I am so happy to be returning to my Italian roots and …

Botticelli’s influence on british pre-Raphaelites

In order for us to understand why Sandro Botticelli’s influence is of such relevance that the Uffizi Galleries renovate the Florentine master’s display to accommodate the modern viewers’ experiences, we shall draw a brief overview on the impact his style had on a small group of British painters, who initiated a trend commonly known as the pre-Raphaelites. So why, all of a sudden, would an old Italian master like Botticelli obtain such a huge impact on British painting as late as in the middle of the 19th century? To seek for an answer, we shall go back to the very starting point: London on a September day in the year of 1848. As a protest against the prevailing conservative history painting at the Royal Academy, a group of young artists congregated in an intellectual as well as a spiritual comradeship and formed what they rather solemnly named the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Initially the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was formed by only three young men at the age of 19-21, that is, William Holman (1827-1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), …

“Fire at Sea”: the italian take on the refugee crisis

“Fire at Sea” (Fuocoammare) by Gianfranco Rosi is the italian film chosen to compete for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards: it’s a brave choice taken by a selected few at the Italian National Film Industry Commission (ANICA). Easier stories could have been picked from the shortlisted ones, but the elitist group of people representing the various branches of the industry decided to stick their necks out for a cause. The cause is a humanitarian and historical one: “Fire at Sea” tells the true story of unimaginable journeys to escape foreign bombs and survive thirst, now, in our highly-civilized, super-progressive and hyper-connected 2016. The choice has received large support by the italian public opinion (#fuocoammare), Italian PM Matteo Renzi was proud and national television screened it on October 3rd: Italy being represented by Fuocoammare for the Oscar competition is a choice seen like a patriotic support to what italian nationals are doing to save lives in the tiny mediterranean island of Lampedusa in Sicily. In fact Italy is the only country to have a National Day to Remember the Victims of Migrations and rise consciousness on Hospitality, and it’s October …

Poetry, Art and Diasporic Iranian Women

Defining one’s own identity as a diasporic self in foreign country is a complex issue. But poetry came helpful to Shirin Neshat and Maryam Habibian: they used Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad to express themselves in a context where they hadn’t grown up. In an interesting article Jasmin Darznik explores the legacy of Forough Farrokhzad (1935–1967) in the Iranian American diaspora. The abstract of her study reads: “At once political and poetic, particular and universal, Farrokhzad’s oeuvre has in recent years become a vital coordinate for a number of contemporary Iranian American women exploring issues of gender, faith, social justice, and human rights across historical and cultural boundaries”. She argues “that the imaginative recovery of Farrokhzad by Iranian immigrant women writers and artists not only complicates the West’s frequently reductive contemporary representations of Middle Eastern women, but marks a bold and evolving interface between modernist Iranian literature and contemporary Iranian immigrant literature”. Thus Darnznik makes an interesting point: migrants to the United States working as artists, use the important literary tradition of their own roots for their work of art. …

The Diver

Suspended in the air, dynamic but still, concentrically plunges Ernesto Michahelles’ diver.  The sculpture, in patinated plaster, currently exposed at Palazzo Strozzi for the exhibition on the Thirties, is the draft for a bronze casting to be displayed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  However, the IOC asked the artist to create a smaller sculpture, 160 cm instead of the almost 3 meters of this original project, and later Thayaht himself could not afford to pay for the metal fusion. The diver’s balance and the effort are brilliantly reproduced in the work, anchored on a single pin below the hands. The metal circles are independently set as a base, and each time the sculpture is mounted, its needs to find its own balance again, its own perfect alignment. Linear artist with eclectic skills, Thayaht is a particular character in the art world. Sculptor, painter, goldsmith and fashion designer , Thayaht, was born in Florence in 1893. He grew up in his grandfather’s house at Poggio Imperiale, and his years in Paris, designed clothes for the atelier …

Firenze Vogue Fashion Night Out, © MarioLuca Giusti

Vogue’s Night Out

High heels, chic dress and sexy make-up, Firenze, yesterday evening, has had a brilliant night out. Down the streets walked, elegantly and confidently, a contemporary Florence.  Feminine, sophisticated, bright, being florentine had a rejuvenated meaning. Vogue’s all-involving event trasformed the ancient town centre in a huge party venue. Every shop participated offering champagne, Campari, nibbles and live DJ music. People browsed around, stopped to chat and catch up with old friends, went through museums, spared a glance at the Duomo, stared at Palazzo Vecchio, continued to walk about Via Tornabuoni, strolled down Via della Vigna Nuova. In Piazza Goldoni, Mario Luca Giusti’s colorful jugs transformed street works into an installation. There is not much room for usual polemics as everyone seems truly quite happy with having one glittering night off the crisis’ mood. A new energy runs through Firenze’s veins. Lively and pleasant, it has awakened the Arno’s banks solitary inhabitants and dragged them into a great open-air party. In other words, thanks to our mayor Matteo Renzi, definitely en Vogue. © Melissa Pignatelli 2012 …