The exhibition The Renaissance Dream is a group of works inspired by the fascinating theme of dreams (and nightmares) and the mystery of the night which has inspired artists and writers for ages. The theme of the dream was considered to be of particular importance in ancient mythology and in the culture of the Renaissance, as shown by its widespread popularity in the figurative arts. The exhibition held at the Palatine Gallery in Palazzo Pitti, offers visitors a chance to explore, for the very first time, this interesting theme.
The dream displays the speculative and inductive potential the human mind can offer; it transfigures daily life and reveals its erotic dimension; it plays a valuable role in the theory and practice of art, which focuses just as much on dreams as it does on literature, philosophy and medicine.
The exhibition is divided into several sections, the first of which defines and illustrates the context in which dreams occur: at night, during sleep. Night, the first section, is illustrated in the full complexity of its symbolism and through some of its many representations in painting and sculpture. The next section, entitled Journey of the Spirit, is introduced by a series of works of art connected with dreams, and others related to Classical myths.
Visions of the Beyond addresses the theme of the dream in the biblical and religious tradition with examples of drawings and paintings from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The fourth section entitled Life is a Dream takes its cue from the exceptional iconographical popularity of Michelangelo’s drawing, The Dream of Human Life. The section entitled The Dreaming Prince, is devoted to the personality of Francesco de’ Medici and to his unique relationship with dreams.
The penultimate section, Enigmatic Dreams and Nightmare Visions, contains works of a dreamlike, visionary or fantastic nature, or nightmares translated into painting.
The exhibition ends with a celebration of the Dawn, which during the Renaissance was considered the space and time of real dreams, and at last the Awakening as the expression of cyclic nature.
The Renaissance Dream
Palatine Gallery, Pitti Palace, Florence
21 May – 15 September 2013
Exhibition curated by Chiara Rabbi Bernard, Alessandro Cecchi e Yves Hersant
Exhibition catalogue published by Sillabe (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 Palatina - Palazzo Pitti, Firenze Musei