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

Address: Via della Ninna, 5 50122, Florence

Phone: +39 055 23885

Fax: +39 055 2388699

>> Contact us

From Boldini to De Pisis

Florence welcomes the masterpieces from Ferrara

02-19-2013 | 05-19-2013

The exhibition, hosted in two prestigious museum premises of the Oltrarno in Florence – The Gallery of Modern Art of Palazzo Pitti and Villa Bardini, belonging to the Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini Peyron of the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze – will display an extensive selection from the museum of the Galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art of Ferrara.

The primary reason behind this exhibition event is to respond to the problems being addressed by the Ferrara galleries as a result of the serious damage caused to Palazzo Massari, housing the nineteenth-century collections and the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Filippo de Pisis, by the earthquake that struck Emilia Romagna in May 2012. After presenting a conspicuous selection of the collections in the Palazzo dei Diamanti, the management of the Ferrara museums was loathe to resort to storing the works in the repositories.  The request made to the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo museale della città di Firenze was accepted, so as to give a much broader public, at least temporarily, the chance of seeing some of these masterpieces which can be summed up in the synthetic cipher from Boldini to De Pisis. In Villa Bardini  the Ferrara collections will be represented by 26 works, starting from the historic Romanticism of Gaetano Turchi, Massimiliano Lodi, Girolamo Domenichini and Giovanni Pagliarini, followed by the self-portraits of leading local artists – from Giuseppe Mentessi to Giovanni Boldini – through to the symbolism of Gaetano Previati expressed in the outstanding masterpiece Paolo and Francesca (1909), inspired by Dante’s namesake canto. On display here is a very significant group of portraits by the great Giovanni Boldini, works of an international tone conducted in what is by now a mature style and displaying a formal perfection that achieved levels of quality surpassing many of his contemporaries.

The Gallery of Modern Art of Palazzo Pitti will instead display 35 works, comprising paintings and sculptures: from the literary symbolism of Giovanni Muzzioli and Gaetano Previati to the melancholic allegories in the sculptures of Angelo Conti and Arrigo Minerbi. Here too, where we can trace the new thought of the early twentieth century, we can admire three masterpieces by Giovanni Boldini, which are particularly striking in view of an original flavour that diverges from the painter’s customary repertory: two still lifes (A Corner of the Painter’s Dining Table; Calville Apples) and the Venice Seascape, revealing geometric scansions reminiscent of a Japanese manga composition.  In the same category of artist’s souvenirs of European cities we have another Venice by Giuseppe Mentessi (Parvis of the Basilica di San Marco) and the view of Charing Cross  Bridge in London by Alberto Pisa.

Documenting the passage to futurism are a canvas by Arnoldo Bonzagni  and a bronze by Annibale Zucchini, while the current pursuing the revival of the classical tradition, clearly inspired by the Renaissance Ferrara masters, is represented by the Portrait of His Sister (1921)by Achille Funi,  whose antique-inspired views of the Roman Forum are also on display.

Also worthy of note in the exhibition is Carrà’s  Ox, in which it seems that the weight and value of an entire Italian tradition is embodied, just as the darkness of suffering nestles in the body of Mario Pozzati’s mother of the prisoner.

An amplification in line with the monumental projects of the politics of the Regime is documented in the broad background forms used by Mario Sironi in the study for a mosaic in the Palazzo di Giustizia of Milan.

There are also portraits and geometries of muted hues in the still lifes of Roberto Melli, who could emerge as a genuine discovery for the greater public.

The tribute to the twentieth-century art of Ferrara ends with one of the most important collections of works by the great artist-poet Filippo De Pisis, who recounts his highly personal artistic vision through still lifes, portraits, Parisian views and flowers narrated and painted in a captivating, synthetic form.

In parallel with this twentieth-century section, the Gallery of Modern Art also proposes a small but significant selection from its repositories, offering the public the chance to see little-known works by the same artists present at the exhibition: Boldini, Minerbi, De Pisis, Carrà  and Sironi.


  • Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali
  • Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana
  • Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della Città di Firenze
  • Galleria d’arte moderna di Palazzo Pitti
  • Firenze Musei
  • Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze
  • Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron


Project design

Mauro Linari

Curated by

Maria Luisa Pacelli, Barbara Guidi, Chiara Vorrasi
Simonella Condemi, Alessandra Griffo (Modern Art Gallery)

Exhibition Management

Simonella Condemi, Alessandra Griffo (per la sede di Palazzo Pitti)


Ferrara Arte


Cinzia Nenci

Press office

Opera laboratori Fiorentini – Civita Group

Ticket prices

Same ticket as the Gallery of Modern Art


Tuesday to Sunday 8.15-18.50

Closed: Mondays and May 1
Ticket office closes at 18.05
Museum closing operations begin at 18.30