The Florence of the Signorini
| ICONIC EXHIBITION| Asia Bernardini
In 1506, on February 2 to be precise, one of the most influential men in Florence, Niccolò di Tommaso Antinori, bought Palazzo Antinori (at the time called Palazzo Boni) for 4,000 florins. It was designed and built between 1461 and 1469 by architect Giuliano da Maiano, an apprentice of Brunelleschi, and was further embellished in 1520 with a garden created by Baccio D’Agnolo.
Palazzo Antinori is one of the most renown examples of Florentine Renaissance architecture. Palazzo Antinori has always been the family’s residence for over 500 years now, as well as the home base for entrepreneurial activities and since 1957 the location of “Cantinetta Antinori”, the historic restaurant wine bar. Above all, it has always been a crossroads of art, culture, and tradition. The discovery of unpublished correspondence from Telemaco Signorini led Elisabetta Matteucci and Silvio Balloni to create a polished exhibition, and for its location the obvious choice was Palazzo Antinori, the home of a family that helped make the city’s history as well as the finest wines.
The exhibition La Firenze di Giovanni e Telemaco Signorini is dedicated to breathtaking images of the “jewel” city and for the first time appears with the works of Giovan Pietro Vieusseux, Pietro Giordani and Niccolò Tommaseo, Diego Martelli and Carlo Lorenzini – a true pictorial dynasty. A focus on Giovanni Signorini (1808-1864) – nicknamed the “Florentine Canaletto” by Leopoldo II of Lorraine – and his son Telemaco had its starting point from a fortunate recovery of an important collection of letters between Telemaco and his famous father and his younger brother Paolo. The exhibition aims to bring out both the father’s ancestry on the painter’s son. It also sets out to document the evolution of landscape painting in Tuscany, from late Romantic depictions to modern aesthetics representative of the period with a great burst of macchia, which Telemaco experimented with and was among the most daring to do so.
The exhibition is curated by Elisabetta Matteucci and Silvio Balloni and set in the spacious halls of Palazzo Antinori; it will be divided into eight sections. It includes over sixty of the most famous paintings by the two Signorini, as well as works by many well-known names, reviving one of the most flourishing periods in Tuscany culture and history. Visitors will be catapulted into a dreamlike journey, spectacular in its monumentality and at the same time warm and domestic thanks to its setting. For the first time, in honor of La Firenze di Giovanni e Telemaco Signorini, the public will be able to admire the historic halls of Palazzo Antinori’s main floor. The vision is fully shared by the Antinori family, who is faithful to a centuries-old tradition of patronage and has entrusted art with the task of handing down and telling its story. This confirms the commitment that has always distinguished them in the recovery and enhancement of how noble was created in Tuscany.