The Florence International Antiques Biennale at Palazzo Corsini
Great art and antiques return to the city from 24 September to 2 October 2022
As I always say, the Biennale is a genuine museum for sale, wonderful to visit even for young people, who perhaps dream of becoming tomorrow’s collectors. I’d really like the Biennale to be seen above all as an opportunity for cultural exchange, with enormously beautiful and valuable objects selected by an extremely rigorous and professional vetting process. Works which could genuinely be in museums, and often actually end up there”. Fabrizio Moretti’s words sound like a veritable manifesto for this 32nd edition of the Antiques Biennale, taking place in Florence from 24 September to 2 October 2022.
The magnificent rooms of Palazzo Corsini provide a splendid setting for the work of some 80 art galleries, with a new layout curated by events and interior designer Matteo Corvino. Visitors have the opportunity to admire the best of great Italian painting, from the Florentine Renaissance to the 20th century in Italy and the world. But there is also stunning sculpture and items from the Roman, Etruscan and Medieval eras, alongside examples of Italian and international design, with the welcome return of leading dealers who bring important paintings from every period, drawings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics and jewellery.
While these are fixed points in Moretti’s work as General Secretary of the Biennale - which relies on an increasingly rigorous and professional vetting process to select works - this edition also offers several important new features. For the first time, a docu-game is created specifically for the event: Eternal Memories is an interactive and playful take on Florentine art and a key moment in the city’s history. Set in Florence during the great flood of 1966, Eternal Memories pays homage to the city and its inexhaustible art heritage. Superb illustrations of the historic city centre accompany the player in a moving story that starts and finishes at Palazzo Corsini and recounts the dramatic events of the flood and the hopeful days when the city was saved by the “Mud Angels”. Available in Italian and English, the game aims to reach a younger audience harder to access by more conventional means. EY - the global leader in professional services with particular expertise in digital transformation - uses technology to turn the increasingly intense and stimulating cross-fertilisation between past and future into a bridge between the classical art of the past and the new art of the future.
The EY area at the Biennale creates a space within a space: a museum in the metaverse displaying paintings and artworks that have won prizes in previous editions of BIAF, offering an immersive experience, albeit remotely, to all art lovers. The metaverse exhibition is packed with interactive digital activities which add depth to stories and give details of the artists and their works through gaming. This also makes it possible to use neuroesthetic techniques to measure the emotional reactionsaroused when viewing art. In this way the Biennale, like a kind of enlightened art collector, has increasingly close links with art patronage initiatives that place the city of Florence at centre stage. For the 2022 edition, there is the donation to the Cathedral of Sansepolcro of a splendid altarpiece by Durante Alberti, depicting the Trinity and Saints Andrew, Mary Magdalene and Christine courtesy of Fabrizio Moretti and Eleonora and Bruno Botticelli, in memory of their respective parents, compensating the church for a serious loss suffered in the past. Meanwhile, thanks to financial support from the Antiques Biennale, the Fondazione Archivio Museo Richard Ginori della Manifattura di Doccia has launched a major project to restore an important series of exquisite wax models. This is the perfect backdrop for the Biennale.
THE UFFIZI ACQUISITIONS
A collection of no less than seven works, including four paintings, two sculptures and one drawing, the latter of which was donated to the museum. This is the balance of the acquisitions that the Uffizi Galleries have undertaken as part of the Florence Biennale Internazionale dell'Antiquariato. These are the seventeenth-century paintings Portrait of a Young Man Victorious over Envy by Pietro Paolini and the Allegory "Ut pictura poesis" by Francesco Cairo, the self-portrait by Felice Cerruti Bauduc in the Atelier with the painter in the act of painting the Combat of Sommacampagna the ivory bust of Cosimo III de' Medici by Jean-Baptiste Basset, signed and dated 1696, the 20th-century canvas Viaggio tragico by Ferruccio Ferrazzi, dated 1925, and the sculptural group with the Pietà (1950) by Giacomo Manzù. To these should be added the gift by the antiquarian Enrico Frascione of the drawing by the 16th-century Venetian painter - and son of Paolo Veronese - Carletto Caliari, Giovinetta con cane, preparatory for a painting now in the Louvre in Paris. Donated a preparatory drawing by the 16th-century painter Carletto Caliari for a work now in the Louvre.