21 Dec 2015

The station and the figurative arts

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Where and when

21December 2015



Museo Novecento

Free admission subject to availability


Monday 21 December 2015, 3.00pm

Dora Liscia Bemporad, Luciana Capasso, Patrizia Cappellini, Carlotta Castellani, Valentina Filice, Giovanna Lambroni, Chiara Toti 

The station and the figurative arts. Conference on the works of art of the Station of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. 

Introduced by Alberto Boralevi, Fondazione Ambron Castiglioni e Valentina Gensini, Museo Novecento

Eighty years after the inauguration of the new station in Florence the large panels of Ottone Rosai and Mario Romoli, now incorporated in the halls of a well-known library, the “frieze” in the Galleria di Testa, photographic counterpoint to the scenes painted, the Arno and its Valley by Italo Griselli, the tapestries of the Royal Hall and the rich corpus of furniture for the People’s Building and the Royal Palace still bear witness to the Florentine climate of the thirties in which the debate on modern architecture was intertwined with that on wall painting and on the teaching of applied arts.


The construction of the new Florence Station, solemnly inaugurated on 30 October 1935 by the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II, was part of the wider economic development project carried out in recent years in Florence that pursued an action to relaunch tourism with a view to a wider appreciation of crafts and commerce city and regional. The result was a series of important cultural activities that included on the one hand the “Florentine Spring”, an exhibition that gathered every year exhibitions of crafts and exhibitions of the most varied nature and events such as Il Maggio Musicale Fiorentino or the re-enactment of historical football, on the other important architectural projects, from the new Berta stadium to the railway station. Launched in 1932 the competition for the Building Travelers was won by a group of young architects, Nello Baroni, Pier Niccolò Berardi, Italo Gamberini, Sarre Guarneri and Leonardo Lusanna, coordinated by their professor at the High School of Architecture in Florence, Giovanni Michelucci.

The project aroused a scandal of national importance which was followed by a long controversy, but over the course of just over three years the architects brought to completion an enterprise that, even today, stands out as one of the most significant examples of Italian Rationalist Architecture. The interventions of the scholars will analyze the rich decorative apparatus prepared to complete the famous enterprise of the Tuscan Group proposing a reflection on the complex historical, artistic, political, cultural context of which the works are immediate expression, through the reinterpretation of the lively cultural milieu of the after-competition in which the expectations towards the assignment of the works were intertwined with the iconographic choices and the dynamics related to the client.


La stazione e le arti, Valentina Filice 

Le tempere di Ottone Rosai, Giovanna Lambroni 

La Scena di caccia di Mario Romoli, Chiara Toti 

Gli arredi e i mobili del Fabbricato Viaggiatori,  Luciana Capasso 

Il fregio fotografico della Galleria di Testa e altre decorazioni fotografiche, Patrizia Cappellini 

L’Arno e la sua Valle di Italo Orlando Griselli, Carlotta Castellani 

Dagli affreschi agli arazzi. Le decorazioni del Salone Reale, Dora Liscia Bemporad 

In collaboration with the Foundation Ambron Castiglioni and Foundation Michelucci, as part of the events for the eightieth anniversary of the Santa Maria Novella Station. 

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