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

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The Renaissance from Florence to Paris. Round trip

The treasures of the Musée Jacquemart-André come home.
Botticelli, Donatello, Mantegna, Paolo Uccello

Villa Bardini

09-06-2013 | 12-31-2013

One of the most important and sophisticated museums in Paris, the Jacquemart-André boasts the richest collection of the Florentine Renaissance in France after the Louvre. Hundreds of masterpieces were indeed purchased in Florence at the end of the nineteenth century, mostly in the atelier of the famous antiquarian and Garibaldi supporter Stefano Bardini.

And so the exhibition The Renaissance from Florence to Paris is like a dual return home, bringing back to Florence the most important works of the Jacquemart-André collections. Paintings by Botticelli, Mantegna, Paolo Uccello, Luca Signorelli and Alesso Baldovinetti, sculptures by Donatello and Giambologna, small bronzes, furnishings and ceramics. 30 masterpieces in all, that return to the city where they were created  to be displayed in the very atelier-residence of the dealer who sold them.

The epic of the great Florentine antiquarians, the birth of the Florence/Renaissance legend, the collecting fever that infected the more cultured element of the wealthy European and American bourgeoisie at the turn of the nineteenth century: these are chapters in a story that has been told a thousand times. A story that also has its negative counterpart in the plundering of the national artistic heritage that was so widely available on the antiques market in those post-unification years, and shamefully allowed to be freely expatriated. It was indeed in this period that the extraordinary collections of the Jacquemart-André were created, in the same way as those of the leading international museums, through years of selected and intelligent purchasing, with the added ingredient of the passion for art of a couple in love, cultivated, far-sighted and above all exceptionally wealthy.

Edouard André, heir to a family of bankers of the imperial aristocracy, a friend and companion-in-arms to Napoleon III, first he left the army and then he left politics, with the precise purpose of filling with artistic treasures the magnificent palace-museum which he had had built in Paris on the very exclusive Boulevard Haussmann. Nélie Jacquemart, on the other hand, was a painter, a high-society portraitist. They both married late in life, and thanks to her Andrè fell in love with Italy and the Renaissance masters.

And so from 1882 on, every year there was a trip to Florence, where in Bardini they found their perfect ally, a skilled and exceptionally well-furnished dealer and agent, from whom they were able to purchase the hundreds of masterpieces of every kind that now make the Musée Jacquemart-André one of the splendours of  France. When she was left a widow in 1894, Nélie continued to frequent Florence and make purchases up to her death in 1912, when she left the mansion and the collections to the State on the condition that they be transformed into a museum open to the public. As she and her husband agreed, art has to be shared.

Just one year later, in 1913, the Musée Jacquemart-André was already a reality and this year it celebrates its centenary. With the return to Florence of the principal part of the Florentine works, the story magically comes full circle.


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

Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron

Institut de France

Con il contributo di:

Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze

Camera di Commercio di Firenze


Fondazione Francesco Messina

Unicoop Firenze



l’Admarco - Edizioni Polistampa - Dafne Trasporti


Cristina Acidini, Giovanna Damiani, Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot

Curated by

Giovanna Damiani, Marilena Tamassia, Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot


Edizioni Polistampa


Barbara Tosti – Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze
Federica Checchi – Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze

Press office

Riccardo Catola e Evelyne Arrighi
Catola & Partner

Ticket prices

Full price: € 8.00
reduced price: € 6.00 (for groups of more than 10 people, ACI, Touring Club and Unicoop Firenze members, and those with a valid ticket for the Boboli Gardens-Bardini)
schools: € 4.00 (accompanying teachers free)


Tuesday to Sunday:10.00 - 19.00.

Closed on Monday.
Last tickets sold at 18.00


Free guided tours included in ticket price for groups of a maximum of 20 people on Saturdays and Sundays at 15.30 and at 17.00 (booking is not required, first-come first served).
Guided tours are available on payment and on booking every day from Tuesday to Sunday