25 May 2018

The first phase of relaunching the Museo Novecento ends

The rearrangement of the permanent Alberto Della Ragione collection was presented together with three new temporary exhibition projects.

The number of exhibitions currently in progress reaches nine.

The metamorphosis of the Museo Novecento has come to an end which – after having presented an important corpus of temporary exhibition projects and permanent installations last April – reopens to the public, in its new form, the permanent collection Alberto Della Ragione. Therefore, the entire surface of the Museum is completely re-accessible, which after having opened the ground floor and the first floor to the public, in this second tranche, also makes the second floor and the roof terrace available to visitors.

The enhancement plan organized by Mus.e and strongly desired by the artistic director of the museum Sergio Risaliti, in fact provided on the one hand the strengthening of the exhibition programming and the alternation of exhibitions and temporary projects, on the other the reorganization of the collections permanent in the original spaces, in order to allow a rotating use of the heritage.

Nine sections into which the Della Ragione collection has been divided in its new layout, on the second floor of the Museo Novecento: Landscapes, Still Life, The artist and his world, Faces. Portraits, Cavalry, Sculpted painting and painted sculpture, Nude, Gestures. Suspended Poses and Theaters, each of which contains a selection of the works – rethought according to a criterion of chronological scanning and thematic exhibition – donated by the engineer and collector Alberto Della Ragione to the Municipality of Florence in 1970. Together with the collection, it finds a worthy location, in the the roof terrace of the complex, the Ottone Rosai legacy.

A series of temporary projects are also open to the public, in addition to the five inaugurated on 21 April together with the permanent installations that have “taken home” on the facade of the former Leopoldine complex and inside the cloister. They therefore complement the exhibitions already in progress (“The sculptor’s drawing”, “Paradigm: the architect’s table: Mario Cucinella”, “Ulla von Brandenburg: Of a golden sun”, “The body is a sacred garment”, “Il Buio. At the margins of vision”) the projects “Solo. Emilio Vedova ”(25 May – 6 September), which focuses on the works of the Venetian artist belonging to the Florentine civic collections together with a selection of works from other public and private collections,“ Everything is nature. Luciana Majoni “(25 May – 6 September) dedicated to the artist’s photographs, in addition to the relational installation by Massimo Nannucci (25 May – 6 September), which features a selection of kilim rugs made available by Boralevi, and to the preview of the exhibition “Eliseo Mattiacci. Gong ”(25 May – 14 October), which will open its doors at the Forte Belvedere on 1 June.

Alberto Della Ragione collection

With a transversal cut, the new exhibition inside the Museo Novecento intends to dwell on some fundamental aspects of Italian art of the first half of the twentieth century, outlining and deepening recurring motifs and themes within the collection donated by the engineer Della Ragione to the city of Florence in 1970, and highlighting unprecedented connections.

What are the interests and tastes of a collector like Alberto Della Ragione? What are the themes, subjects, styles that guide his choices? A brave patron, Della Ragione has dedicated himself to art since the late 1920s, when, still wary of the production of his time, he bought the first nineteenth-century works. The encounter with the art of the twentieth century is sealed by the visit to the Roman Quadrennial of 1931. Responding to the ethical request “not to pass with eyes closed between the art of one’s time, but to give the work of the living artist the legitimate comfort of a timely understanding ”, he begins to offer his support to young artists, often neglected by the market and by the official critics of the Regime. Since then, his collection of contemporary art, which was already one of the largest in Italy in the 1940s, has grown progressively.

Nine sections in which Sergio Risaliti, in collaboration with Eva Francioli, Francesca Neri and Stefania Rispoli, has chosen to divide the new exhibition at the Museo Novecento, pacing the path on genres and themes, in order to facilitate the visitor in discovery and understanding. of this important legacy.

In Still Life, a genre that enjoys a certain success also in Italian painting of the twentieth century, we find the magic underlying the painting of Antonio Donghi and the dry essentiality of Felice Casorati, the references to personal and autobiographical experiences, contained in numerous natures death of Mario Mafai and Renato Guttuso, who confront Giorgio Morandi and Corrado Cagli.

The Landscape is represented within the collection thanks to a significant sampling of views. A journey into the variety of the Italian landscape, which experiences the contrasts between the harshness of the mountain peaks celebrated by Mario Sironi and the flat marine landscapes of Carlo Carrà, and passes through the intimacy of the enclosed space represented by Antonio Donghi and the soft hilly profiles praised by Renato Birolli, Bruno Cassinari, Osvaldo Licini, Giorgio Morandi and Ottone Rosai. The more intimate and familiar landscapes are flanked by Virgilio Guidi’s rarefied homage to the almost abstract essentiality of the sea.

The Artist and his world offers a special invitation to get in touch with the painter and his tools: from the studio of the painter by Mario Sironi, to the works of Filippo de Pisis, Felice Casorati and Carlo Levi.

The awareness of one’s own image and the need to remember and to be remembered are intertwined in the practice of portraiture, so Volti. Portraits, opened with the self-portrait of Mario Mafai, offers an excursus that goes from the intense comparison between the idealizing preciousness of Antonietta Raphael, to the dry naturalism of Marino Marini and Giacomo Manzù. In the same way, Massimo Campigli’s rough and archaic painting coexists with the brushstrokes of Francesco Menzio, as well as with the synthetic painting of Virgilio Guidi and the twentieth century purism of Pompeo Borra.

The Cavalry section sees artists such as Fortunato Depero, Marino Marini and Lucio Fontana engaged in confrontation with a theme dear to the figurative tradition, the horse, declined according to different languages ​​and sensibilities, while Sculpted painting and painted sculpture celebrates those works that represent the fusion of painting and sculpture, often bringing with it a fading of the subject into the irregular movement of the form. The works of Corrado Cagli, Giuseppe Migneco, Carlo Levi, but also Ennio Morlotti, whose expressionism translates into a dense and tangled line, are examples of this material painting, in comparison with the pasty ceramics of Lucio Fontana.

The study and representation of the human body are a constant in the history of art. Although for many centuries the male nude has played a predominant role, in modern times it is above all the female body that is at the center of the pictorial and sculptural investigation and then in Nudes. The female universe could not miss the works of Felice Casorati and Arturo Martini, Mario Mafai, Marino Marini and Mario Sironi.

Gestures. Suspended poses, is the section that instead contains moments hidden behind a wait, a moment of stillness or agitation, but also moments in which ideas and intentions seek their own order, as recalled in the works of Felice Casorati, Virgilio Guidi, Roberto Melli, Ottone Rosai, Arturo Martini and Marino Marini.

Finally, the Theaters, or objects, shapes and figures with no apparent links that unfold enigmatically within a painting where compositions poised between dream and reality are born, in which each element is called upon to ‘play’ a role. The works of Renato Paresce and Giuseppe Viviani are an example of this, as well as those of Giorgio De Chirico, Mario Sironi and Gino Severini or even those of the futurists Fillia and Enrico Prampolini.

Permanent collection


In 1963 an important corpus of works by Ottone Rosai was donated by the widow Francesca Fei and her brother Oreste to the Municipality of Florence. The legacy is articulated around the two thematic nuclei of portraits and views. The series of Tondini and Amici, created between the 1940s and 1950s, is dedicated to people dear to the painter: poets, critics and artists, including Piero Bigongiari, Eugenio Montale, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Giorgio De Chirico, who testify to the fruitful cultural milieu in which Rosai works. These are flanked by Rosai’s views of Florence dating back to the years 1954 and 1955. The Museo Novecento thus intends to pay homage to a master of 20th century Tuscan art, whose painting, in the years of maturity, is characterized by an original dialogue between harsh realism and expressionist technique.