The exhibition entitled L'Italia chiamò (Italy Called), which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, illustrates how the great moral and patriotic themes and the illustrious historical figures were proposed and elaborated by the artists of the time.
On this special occasion, the Uffizi, which once housed the Senate room at the time when Florence was the capital, has organised an exhibition which gives the visitors the opportunity to discover less famous works and sites of the Florentine museum.
Three main topics are illustrated within the exhibition; the celebration of the illustrious men of Italy, the Unification of Italy in the twentieth-century painting and the renewal of historical genre painting. The latter started in the country just after the Unification of Italy, it was inspired by the events of the Risorgimento and it celebrated contemporary subjects.
The niches beneath the porticos of the Uffizi Gallery were originally designed by Vasari purely as architectural features but by the first half of the nineteenth century they were occupied by 28 statues of famous people from the worlds of politics, art, literature, science, the judiciary and also religious figures. Famous men, the same that in the painting by Eugenio Agneni rise like spectres from the cavities of the pilasters of the same loggia, shadows of the great Florentines protesting against foreign dominion.
In the end, two monumental illustrations of the battles waged to achieve the Unification of Italy are displayed opposite each other; The Battle of San Martino by Corrado Cagli (1936) and the Battle of Ponte dell’Ammiraglio by Renato Guttuso (1951-1952).
Uffizi Gallery, San Pier Scheraggio, Florence
12 November 2011 – 15 January 2012
Exhibition curated by Carlo Sisi with Giovanna Giusti and Antonio Natali
Exhibition catalogue published by Silvana Editoriale (available only in Italian)
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 degli Uffizi