Donatello and Digital Art Cohabitate in Florence!
I have had the pleasure of spending the past weekend in the beautiful city of Florence. The sun was shining, and the city was back to its pre-pandemic rhythm! Every time I visit Florence, I always try to check out the exhibition program at Palazzo Strozzi, the Renaissance palace previously owned by the rich Strozzi family and now devoted to the arts with a rich exhibition program each year. The exhibitions they plan are always top notch, so I decided to follow tradition and visit the Palazzo.
I soon found out that not one, but two exhibitions were on display while I was there. The first exhibition entitled “Donatello. Il Rinascimento” (Donatello. The Renaissance) was dedicated to the 14th century Florentine sculptor Donatello. It was part of a bigger exhibition that continued in another Florentine Museum, the Museo del Bargello. The second exhibition on display at the Palazzo Strozzi, entitled “Let’s Get Digital!” was dedicated to NFTs and digital art. This was a very challenging and audacious mix; I have to say! These exhibitions are just one more reason to check the place out. Both exhibitions will be on view until the 31st of July.
The historic Donatello exhibition, organized by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Musei del Bagello, sets out to reconstruct the astonishing career of one of the most important and influential masters of the Italian Renaissance art, the “master of masters.” It does so by comparing his works with works by his contemporaries, both sculptors and painters, and with works by the generations of artists that have followed him, establishing his legacy through the centuries. Curated by Francesco Caglioti, Medieval Art professor at the Scuola Normale di Pisa, this exhibition explores how Donatello regenerated the very notion of sculpture. It shows how he combined the most recent discoveries in the field of perspective with the psychological dimension of art and embraced the full range of human emotions in all their deepest diversity.
Donatello, Virgin and Child, Two Angels and Two Prophets (detail), 1415-1420 c.
Thus, it is not a shock that the other exhibition that Palazzo Strozzi is simultaneously hosting is dedicated to NFTs and digital art as this is a new media that is changing the way we look at art and the way we interact with it.
Speaking of interacting with art, as I walked into the courtyard of the Palazzo Strozzi, I was blown away by the mesmerizing installation by the digital and NFT artist Refik Anadol. I unfortunately cannot attach the video here, so I'm going to attach some shots of the installation, but you have to check out the video on Palazzo Strozzi's Instagram page - pictures wouldn’t do it justice!
Refik Anadol, Machine Hallucinations - Renaissance Dreams, 2022
Refik Anadol's Machine Hallucinations - Renaissance Dreams was the central and most incredible piece of the exhibition “Let’s Get Digital!”. It was promoted and organized by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Fondazione Hilary Merkus Recordati and curated by Arturo Galasino, Director General of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, and Serena Tabacchi, Director of the MoCDA (Museum of Contemporary Digital Art). The exhibition continues inside the Palazzo, taking visitors through digital installations and multimedia experiences created by international artists such as Anyma, Daniel Arsham, Beeple, Krista Kim, and Andrés Reisinger. It is a very complex and bold exhibition, since it explores a movement in the midst of an evolution and transformation which a lot of people in the fine art business consider to be the starting point for an increasingly rapid interlace of aesthetics and new technologies. However, boldness is not going to stop the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, which is quickly becoming one of the most daring and provocative cultural spaces and a home for the dialogue and interconnection of all the arts.