Ferdinando de’ Medici: collector and patron of the Arts

Ferdinando de’ Medici: collector and patron of the Arts

UFFIZI GALLERY from June 26 2013  to January 6 3014

To mark the 300th anniversary of the death of Grand Prince Ferdinand de’ Medici (1663-1713), the Galleria degli Uffizi is planning to devote a celebratory exhibition to this key figure who was one of the most important collectors and patrons of the arts in the entire history of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The son of Cosimo III and of Marguerite-Louise d’Orléans, Ferdinando nurtured two overriding interests, in the theatre and music and in the figurative arts, from a very early age. The exhibition sets out to convey the complexity of his interests and the innovative nature of his approach which drew the leading artists of the era (musicians, painters and sculptors) to Florence between the end of the 17th century and the first decade of the 18th.

A special section is illustrating the early years of Ferdinando’s art collecting and patronage which focused in particular on his beloved villa at Pratolino where, alongside musicians, singers, costumiers and composers, he also hosted the Bibbiena family from Bologna, masters in the art of stage design. At the same time, the residence was being transformed in its interior decor and embellished with the work of Ferdinando’s favourite painters at the time, including Livio Mehus, Pier Dandini and Domenico Tempesti, all of whom were Tuscans, but also such “foreigners” as Crescenzio Onofri from Rome or Cristoforo Munari from northern Italy, all of them engaged in producing works closely linked to the villa and to the performances and other leisure activities that were held in it.

The third section is devoted to the renovation of Palazzo Pitti, of the Pergola Theatre and of the cathedral of Florence on the occasion of Ferdinando’s wedding to Princess Violante Beatrix of Bavaria in 1689. The ducal palace underwent radical transformation in its piano nobile, in the bridal couple’s apartments and in the mezzanines above, which were renovated in a spectacularly imaginative way, evinced in the exhibition by the memoirs and preparatory drawings of the artists who executed in the work (Luca Giordano, Diacinto Maria Marmi, Alessandro Gherardini, Giovan Battista Foggini and Anton Domenico Gabbiani). At the same time, the section also explores the ceremonies and festivities held in Florence to mark the prince’s wedding, using drawings and documents for the purpose.

The final section is devoted to the last years of Ferdinando’s life, exploring the results and repercussions of his art patronage and collecting, and displaying the drawings for a celebratory monument that it was planned to erect in his memory, the sketches for that project, and material relating to his funeral.

For infos about the ehibition and visits: info@florencewithflair.com