«FECE di scoltura di legname e colorì» A few words of Giorgio Vasari describing a Magdalene sculpted by Filippo Brunelleschi are used to give the title to the exhibition held in the Galleria delle Statue e delle Pitture of the Uffizi Galleries, presenting around fifty wooden masterpieces from the 15th century. Indeed, this magnificent production includes not only crucifixes but also individual statues, busts and mixed polyptychs depicting the Madonna and saints, thus underlining how the painted sculpture was of fundamental importance and how countless artists decided to approach this expressive model.
Moreover, using wood in the context of liturgical decoration allows the artists to experiment with this technique and address the theme of pain and how it affects the human body. Thus, suffering is expressed on wood with a new, heartfelt naturalism taken from reference works such as the crucifixes of Donatello and Brunelleschi, who used to paint their works after carving them, as polychromy was essential.
However, many sculptors, famous and unknown, preferred to entrust this task directly to the painters, thus establishing fruitful collaborations. Indeed, this thematic area of the exhibition includes the Tondo Doni itself as an emblem of one of the most famous collaborations between masters of painting and Florentine intaglio, respectively Michelangelo and Francesco del Tasso, who created the intricate frame.
The exhibition brings the Renaissance workshops and their treasures back to life, namely the results of a sophisticated and specialised production destined for churches, convents, and private individuals. The artisan's studio thus becomes a significant junction of exchanges between different artists, establishing a strong link between art, craftsmanship and popular religion.
The exhibition, curated by Alfredo Bellandi, as well as the catalogue published by Giunti, is promoted by the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo with Gallerie degli Uffizi, la Galleria delle Statue e delle Pitture degli Uffizi and Firenze Musei.
"Fece di scoltura di legname e colorì". 15th-century Florentine painted wood sculpture
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
22 March - 28 August 2016
The exhibition is curated by Alfredo Bellandi
Exhibition catalogue published by Giunti Editore (available only in Italian)
Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Firenze Musei