10 February 2020


In Florence the passion for collecting contemporary art shines again. In the city of the Medici, RINASCIMENTO + was born, an international recognition that the Museo Novecento in collaboration with MUS.E gives to eminent personalities of collecting and patronage for their support of art and artists. The ceremony will take place at 11 am on Sunday 23 February in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, in the presence of the councilor for culture Tommaso Sacchi.

In this first edition the prize is awarded to Laurent Asscher, Paolo Fresco, Ursula Hauser and Rosella Nesi for the visionary, generosity and dedication with which they have worked over time in various forms of patronage and in collecting, to increase cultural well-being, training and artistic experimentation. They will be given the Crisalide di Sole jewel, conceived and created by Maria Sole Ferragamo, a young designer who inherited the sense of beauty and innovation in shapes and materials from her grandfather Salvatore Ferragamo.

There is no doubt that Florence was the cradle of modern collecting and patronage, cultural, social and economic phenomena necessary for Western artistic evolution and the success of every avant-garde. The Renaissance, in fact, would not have established itself without the Medici, Sassetti, Tornabuoni, Gondi and Rucellai, just to name some of the greatest supporters of art and culture in that glorious time.

Since that time, Florence has exercised a precise mandate over the centuries, a function necessary for the structuring of the modern art system. Over the centuries the city has been a place for making art, art criticism and investment in art: a vocation, the latter, uninterrupted even in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the great bourgeois and industrial families persevered in this logic by collecting and investing in beauty and culture. Florence has survived its glorious past as a crossroads of artists, philosophers, poets, architects and then of Italian and foreign patrons who in the city of Lorenzo the Magnificent and Botticelli have cultivated business, diplomatic relations, political and economic alliances all attracted by the aura of the Renaissance. Among these we remember Stefano Bardini, whose taste and entrepreneurial ability as an art dealer gave rise to that museum jewel that is the Stefano Bardini Museum. The eclectic Frederick Stibbert and the art historian Herbert Percy-Horne, whose collections are a very important piece of Florentine history. Without forgetting the bequest made by the art historian Charles Alexander Loeser, with extraordinary works of the Renaissance now preserved in Palazzo Vecchio.

The Museo Novecento also bears witness to this passion for beauty and its perpetuation in historical eras. The museum institution was born thanks to the presence in the city of an extraordinary private collection donated in 1970 to the Municipality of Florence. The Alberto Della Ragione Collection – full of over 200 works by the greatest exponents of Italian modern art – represents the real pillar of the Novecento Museum. This heritage of works of art was donated to the city in the aftermath of the 1966 flood, as Della Ragione recalls, “as the result of a life of intense passion and as an act of adherence to the efforts made to restore city ​​the role of living capital of art “. A huge patrimony of sculptures and paintings, which is proof of the taste of the collector capable of entering the world of Italian art of the first half of the twentieth century as a profound connoisseur, with his own particular inclination and critical logic. In the words of the collector there was then a precise message, still valid today: to mend the distance between past and present, to be able to fill gaps and contribute to a role of Florence in the contemporary world.

These are the historical and critical premises at the origin of the Rinascimento +. The idea of this international award then starts from the Museo Novecento, which is also a recognition of the noble history of collecting and an idea of the Renaissance as an open category, as a narrative that has not been definitively completed. A tribute to the continuous transformation of creative languages, to the love for art, to the passions of the collector.

Crisalide di Sole is the prize conceived and created by Maria Sole Ferragamo. The chrysalis hosts the original shape in its womb to make it fly again. Creativity can revive beauty in every human season, which will always take on new shapes and other colors, in ever-changing materials and languages. Here is the meaning of that + sign added to the magical word Renaissance. Which thus manifests itself in its deepest meaning, of a vivifying spirit, of perennial evolution, metamorphosis and reincarnation. In Crisalide di Sole, the Renaissance is not that petrified dream in an unrepeatable past. That desire for beauty, for transcendence, for cosmic harmony always lives and ‘always’ is reborn. The concept of Renaissance, of rebirth, restores a future to the fragile memory of the individual: to be born again, to make things happen again, every day in pursuit of harmony and variety. Nature provides us with an extraordinary example of this process in the evolutionary cycle of butterflies. From caterpillar to chrysalis, from chrysalis to butterfly. Of these three, the most static but at the same time richest in novelty element that it generates and creates is that of the chrysalis. Inside, the whole history of the caterpillar and all the desire of the butterfly coexist. Chrysalis of the Sun, consists of an apparently static and rigid external volume, protecting a crystal ball inside. The sphere enclosed in the skin of the envelope returns ever new geometric shapes to the eye of the observer. The chrysalis, for Maria Sole, is also the collector, who knows how to treasure great examples of the past to support and protect today’s art and encourage the future. The creation of the work in recycled leather, crystal, metal and marble saw the contribution of Florentine excellences, such as Horme and Accoppiature Mistral for the leather envelope, Leofrance and Cristalleria Nuova Cev, in addition to the graphic contribution of Dania Menafra.

RINASCIMENTO + was conceived by Sergio Risaliti, artistic director of the Museo Novecento, who in the selection made use of the collaboration of Giovanni Iovane, art critic and curator, director of the Brera Academy, Laura Lombardi, art critic, correspondent of Il Giornale dell’Arte, professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at the Brera Academy and Giorgio Verzotti, art critic, curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, director of Arte Fiera from 2012 to 2016.