Saville transcends the limits between the figurative and the abstract, between the formal and the gestural, evincing a contemporary humanism that puts the figure at the center of the history of art. Saville is committed to the idea that the potential of painting is still to be explored by overcoming the distinctions between abstraction and figuration, and between expressionism and informalism
The exhibition has been extended until February 27, 2022 in the premises of the Museo Novecento, Museo degli Innocenti and Museo di Casa Buonarroti.
It will close on February 20, however, at the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio Museum and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
Monday – Sunday
Monday – Sunday
Like no other artist of our time, she has left postmodernism behind to reconstruct a close connection with the great European pictorial tradition, in constant discourse with the modernism of Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly, and the portraiture of Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon.
The exhibition will reveal a dialogue between Saville and the art and artists of the Italian Renaissance, including some of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces. Correspondences include the monumentality of her paintings, a distinctive feature of Saville’s figurative language since the early years of her career, as well as her research focused on the body, on flesh, and on naked female subjects, mutilated or crushed by weight and from existence.
In the rooms of the Museo Novecento, between the ground floor and the first floor, an outstanding series of paintings and drawings will be exhibited. The works cover a wide period, from the early 2000s to the last few months.
Through a new window, Saville’s Rosetta II (2005–06), a monumental portrait of a young blind woman known by the artist and portrayed as a blind cantor or a mystic in ecstatic concentration, will be visible day and night, above the altar inside the former church of the Spedale. This display will create a dialogue—strongly desired and sought by the Director of the Museum—with Giotto’s wooden crucifix suspended in the center of the nave of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, clearly visible from the outside of the churchyard when the Dominican church portal remains open
The Salone dei Cinquecento in the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio will present the monumental work Fulcrum (1998–99), which established Saville as a major contemporary painter when it was shown in her first solo exhibition, Jenny Saville: Territories, presented at Gagosian in New York in 1999
Saville’s passionate and engaging dialogue with Michelangelo’s work and iconography reaches its climax at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, part of the monumental complex of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. Here, in the room with the Bandini Pietà (c. 1547–55), one of Michelangelo’s last works, will be a large drawing by Saville, about three meters tall, which she was inspired to create after a visit to Florence two years ago.
In the Museo degli Innocenti it will be installed alongside Luca della Robbia’s Madonna and Child and Botticelli’s Madonna and Child with an Angel, Saville’s large painting The Mothers (2011). The works are housed in a building designed by Brunelleschi for welcoming abandoned children and dedicated to the promotion and protection of children’s rights. A second large painting, Byzantium (2018), will be exhibited, as a different version of the Pietà.
In the rooms of the Museo di Casa Buonarroti, a place of memory and celebration of Michelangelo’s genius, Saville’s drawings Study for Pietà I (2021) and Mother and Child Study II (2009) present a conscious homage to Michelangelo’s Sketches (1517–20). There are, however, drawings in pastel such as Aleppo (2017–18) and Compass (2013) where the themes central to Saville’s poetics, so tenaciously linked to contemporaneity, remain.
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