Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze

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Love victorious and other stories

12-16-2012 | 03-10-2013

This exhibition is a follow-up to the “Restauri in Villa” (restorations in the Villa) held last year, presenting the works restored between 2009 and 2010.

The display itinerary of the restored works of art proposed this year has essentially  two aims. The first is to valorise the vast reservoir of works of art comprised in the Bardini Legacy, the precious materials of which are restored and proposed to the public every year; the second is to underscore the felicitous synergy that has been created with Cerreto Guidi, its territory and the local institutions and associations.

This year we can present restored works of art such as the fine painting portraying Love Victorious, attributed to Giovanni Martinelli, which we will display to the critics and the public. Giovanni Martinelli was a painter active in Florence and Tuscany between the third and the sixth decade of the seventeenth century, and can be considered one of the most important exponents of the outstanding season of Florentine seventeenth-century painting. The painting reveals features characteristic of the artist’s maturity, such as subtle, burnished colours and a light coming from the left that illuminates the body of Love victorious with warm, suffused shades. The figure of Love appears to emerge from a slightly foreshortened background, while the musical instruments, books and scientific objects in the foreground are painted with a masterful capacity of optical rendering.

The other State restorations are two weather vanes in wrought iron and a remarkable and important selection of Renaissance fabrics.

There was also a very significant restoration of a painting of the seventeenth-century Dutch school, which enabled us to decipher the subject and decide that the perfect location for it was indeed the Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi and its Hunting Museum. The restoration was funded by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di San Miniato, whom we should like to thank in the person of its President, Antonio Guicciardini Salini.

The painting shows a large tract of countryside in which children and adults are lined up intent upon a society sport, “il gioco del paretaio”, seen from a bird’s eye view above. This is a type of hunting sport that was greatly appreciated in the seventeenth-century country house: bird-catching in the paretaio.

The paretaio was one of the sites appointed to grand ducal hunting; more specifically, it was a clearing in the wood where the traps (or rather camouflaged nets known as pareti) were spread out to catch the birds. As a result the position of the painting, of the Dutch seventeenth-century school, in  the  Medici Villa that houses the Historical Hunting and Territorial Museum appears particularly apt.

A significant section of the exhibition  is given over to the important collection of Bardini ceramics, studied and selected by Marino Marini. The recovery of the majolica was made possible by a total review of all the fragments conserved in the repositories of the former Bardini collection.

This operation brought back to light both the original parts and the restorations of numerous exemplars commissioned by the Florentine antiquarian; we can mention in particular two goblets: the larger, of Montelupo ware with vegetable decoration on a pale blue ground, and the Faenza exemplar, with warriors and the Pasolini dall’Onda coat of arms.

We can consequently admire the manifold energies that have contributed to the valorisation of these materials and the fascinating contribution of different expertise to the knowledge and enhancement of the cultural heritage of our territory and our beloved Italy.

Curated by

Marilena Tamassia

Ticket prices

Free admission


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