One of the largest, most comprehensive exhibitions on Sandro Botticelli is currently on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), created in collaboration with the Uffizi Galleries in Florence. “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi,” is open now through Jan. 8, centered on works by Botticelli, including the only one of his paintings in which he painted himself, “Adoration of the Magi.” Prints, sculptures, and paintings from Mia’s collection are shown alongside works from the Uffizi, featuring exquisitely detailed drawings by Botticelli (architects and designers, take note); works by his teacher (Fra Filippo Lippi) and colleagues (Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli, Perugino); and ancient Greek and Roman marbles that inspired the work of these Florentine artists.
In Renaissance Florence, artists like Botticelli were inspired by ancient marbles and myths, along with the humanism of ruler and patron Lorenzo de’ Medici. Works were meant to be studied and to inspire philosophical conversation, as they do now: Consider Botticelli’s provocative “Pallas and the Centaur,” painted for the Medici family at the height of the artist’s career, interpretations ranging from the taming of feral impulses to the feminist implications of the goddess’s formidable stance. Consider also the remnant of the sculpture “Three Satyrs Wrestling a Serpent,” hidden from the Nazis in a wall inside a wall in an Austrian castle.
Organized into five thematic sections, design pros will enjoy the gallery titled “The Renaissance Interior: A Setting of Virtue and Magnificence.” This gallery includes art reflecting Florentine interiors and social practices, with Botticelli’s “Saint Augustine in His Study” and Benedetto da Rovezzano’s “Saint John the Baptist” from Mia’s collection as highlights. Note, as the curators pointed out during a press preview, the elevated rounded desks—designed to keep scholars off the cold floors and embraced in their own body heat during cool wet winters. Note in other works the renderings of draperies, as well as a massive gilded wedding chest and painted panels from other wedding chests.
The exhibition does not travel to any other galleries or museums. Unless you’re planning a trip to Florence soon, now is your chance to view the Uffizi loans in your hometown. Purchase tickets here. Ciao, bella.