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  • Francesco Vezzoli, “Primavera-Estate” overview, Museo Bellini, Florence.

  • Francesco Vezzoli, “Primavera-Estate” overview, Museo di Casa Martelli, Florence.

  • Francesco Vezzoli, “Primavera-Estate” overview, Museo Bellini, Florence.


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Francesco Vezzoli takes over Florence with his “Primavera-Estate” exhibition

Francesco Vezzoli, the Italian artist who has gained international acclaim for his irreverent films starring actors like Sharon Stone, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett or Michelle Williams, recently left the Hollywood divas behind in order to establish an ongoing dialogue with the artistic heritage of Italy. His latest exhibition, titled “Primavera-Estate”, occupies three different museums-homes of Florence that originally belonged to noble families, great collectors and antiques dealers: the Museo Bardini, the Museo di Casa Martelli and the Museo Bellini.

The artist chose these museums because they reflect the history and personal taste of the people that inhabited them, offering a unique opportunity to explore themes like memory, its relationship with history and the limits between the private and the public. Vezzoli’s works invade the three museums as if they were “impertinent intruders”, challenging the viewer to spot them between masterpieces of artists like Velazquez, Donatello, Bronzino, Antonio del Pollaiolo or Lucas Cranach the Elder. By stimulating the spectator to make comparisons with the existing collections, they artist creates multiple narratives that can be read at different interpretative levels.

In the Museo Bardini’s Sala delle Madonne (Room of the Madonnas), Vezzoli placed his two Madonnas — “Crying Portrait of Stephanie Seymour as a Renaissance Madonna with Holy Child” and “Crying Portrait of Christie Brinkley as a Renaissance Madonna With Holy Child” —amidst a group of stucco and terracotta pieces made by some of the most important 15th century Florentine workshops. In the Sala De Chirico of the Museo Bellini, the artist hung two paintings portraying Sophia Loren alongside the genuine “Cavallo con cavaliere arabo”, while in the Sala degli Arazzi (Room of the Tapestries) he replaced a late 16th-century piece from the Flemish school with “A Present for the Artist”, dedicated to Marina Abramovic. Last, but not least, in the chapel of the Museo di Casa Martelli that features Madonnas attributed to the school of Filippo Lippi, the artist placed his self-portrait, entitled “Self-Portrait As a Self Portrait” (After Raffaello Sanzio).

Vezzoli pays a unique homage to the history of Florence, questioning what’s really relevant in art and establishing a fascinating dialogue with the past in order to find a perspective from which to view the present. Witty and humorous, and constantly playing with the surprise factor, the exhibit won’t leave anyone indifferent.

“Primavera-Estate” is a special Fondazione Pitti Discovery project, curated by Francesco Bonami, coinciding with the celebrations of “Firenze Hometown of Fashion”. The exhibition will be on view until July 20, 2014, at the Museo Bardini, the Museo di Casa Martelli and the Museo Bellini in Florence.