The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will present “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi,” featuring more than 45 loans from the renowned Uffizi Galleries in Florence, including Sandro Botticelli’s evocative Minerva and the Centaur (c. 1482).
Marking the first collaboration between Mia and the Uffizi Galleries, the exhibition will include paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, decorative arts, and a selection of ancient Roman marble statues. It will be the largest and one of the most comprehensive shows on Botticelli ever staged in the United States, featuring works that seldom leave the Italian museum’s galleries. On view from October 16, 2022, through January 8, 2023, in Mia’s Target Galleries, “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence” will contextualize the artist’s works within the broader artistic and cultural climate of Renaissance Florence.
Famous for his large-scale mythological and secular paintings, Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510) was among the most celebrated and gifted artists of the Italian Renaissance. He is also well known for his inimitable treatment of sacred subjects, which include altarpieces, devotional pictures, and three major frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in Rome commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV. In addition to his Minerva and the Centaur, painted for the Medici family at the height of his career, the Uffizi is lending a dozen works by Botticelli, including nine paintings treating a range of subjects from the religious and mythological to portraiture and three drawings that are very rarely lent and have never been exhibited in the United States.
The exhibition will also include loaned works by Botticelli’s master, Fra Filippo Lippi, and other members of Botticelli’s circle, including Filippino Lippi, the Pollaiuolo brothers, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Luca Signorelli, and Lorenzo di Credi. Important Roman sculptures spanning the second century BCE to the second century CE will also be on display, including five major works from the Uffizi’s collection. These antiquities will help illuminate the integral role played by ancient art in the Italian Renaissance and its influence on Botticelli and his circle—providing a rare opportunity to present together works by Botticelli and the sculptures that influenced him.
“The presentation of such rare objects of extraordinary quality alone is sure to inspire wonder and delight,” said Katie Luber, Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President of Mia. “Following the extended period in which the pandemic limited the nature of international curatorial collaboration, the opportunity to bring wonderful works of art from the Uffizi to Minneapolis is nothing short of incredible. What better moment to examine Botticelli and the Florentine Renaissance than this fall, as we seek the rebirth of culture, art, and connection.”
Adds Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Galleries: “The Uffizi Galleries are thrilled to present some of its most outstanding treasures in the Twin Cities, and to collaborate with Mia to recount the most extraordinary moments of Renaissance art, a period of extreme inventiveness and creativity, which has forged the course of world culture.”
Loans from the Uffizi will be interspersed with objects from Mia’s collection, including Benedetto da Rovezzano’s Saint John the Baptist sculptural bust (c. 1505) displayed alongside Jacopo del Sellaio’s Triumph of Mordecai (c. 1485), a panel painting from the Uffizi that depicts a similar terra-cotta bust. Visitors will be able to see how artworks were originally displayed in Renaissance interiors and gain a better understanding of how they functioned in these spaces.
The exhibition is organized into five thematic sections to illuminate life in Renaissance Florence through art, including:
- Art All’Antica: Virtue, Passion, and Pleasure, considering the complex meanings of borrowed ancient motifs and subjects in Renaissance art, especially works made for domestic settings, will include Botticelli’s Pallas and the Centaur (c. 1482) and a second-century Roman marble of a Centaur.
- The San Marco Sculpture Garden and Antiquities in Renaissance Florence, exploring the influence of ancient forms and ideas on Renaissance art and the impact of the Medici antiquities collection on Florentine artists. It will feature a first-century BCE Roman statue group, Three Satyrs Wrestling a Serpent, formerly in Lorenzo de Medici’s collection and now in an American private collection. After five centuries, the sculpture will be reunited in Minneapolis with the Medici collection and displayed next to Luca Signorelli’s Allegory of Fertility and Abundance (c. 1512–15), which reflects its influence.
- Sacred Beauty, focusing on religious painting and Botticelli’s influential yet inimitable depictions of the Virgin Mary as expressions of divine grace and beauty, will feature his Adoration of the Child with Angels (Madonna of the Roses) (1490–1500); Madonna and Child in Glory with Angel (c. 1467–69), and Filippo Lippi’s Virgin of the Annunciation and Saint Anthony Abbot, The Angel of the Annunciation and Saint John the Baptist (c. 1455–59).
- The Renaissance Interior: A Setting of Virtue and Magnificence, a peek at Florentine interiors and social practices, will present Botticelli’s Saint Augustine in His Study, (c. 1494) and Benedetto da Rovezzano’s Saint John the Baptist (c. 1505) from Mia’s collection.
- From Life: Florentine Faces and People explores the influence of classical forms, Renaissance inventions, and fashion trends in Florentine portraiture of the period, and will highlight Perugino’s Portrait of a Young Man (c. 1495); Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man (1470); and Antonio del Pollaiuolo and Piero del Pollaiuolo, Portrait of a Young Woman (c. 1480).
The exhibition is co-curated by Rachel McGarry, PhD, Elizabeth MacMillan Chair of European Art and curator of European paintings and works on paper at Mia, and Cecilia Frosinini, a world-renowned specialist of 15th-century art, who directed the painting and drawing conservation department at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence for many decades. The catalogue, edited by the duo, is an international collaboration among 18 preeminent scholars who bring insight to the works in the Uffizi collection and those included from Mia’s collection. The essays and entries show the unending interest in Botticelli and Renaissance art. The book will be published by the Minneapolis Institute of Art for release in October 2022.
“Botticelli and Renaissance Florence” is made possible with support from lead sponsors J.P.Morgan, Chase and the Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Foundation.
“Bringing Botticelli’s masterworks from the Uffizi to the Twin Cities is a profoundly unique cultural gift,” said Pilar Oppedisano, Executive Director, Market Manager of Minnesota, J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “As the singular venue, we hope Minnesotans—and art lovers far and wide—will visit and enjoy this exhibition at Mia. We’re so proud to support enrichment programs that everyone in our community can benefit from.”
Additional support for this exhibition comes from major sponsors A2 Art Storage & Services and Thomson Reuters; generous sponsors Ronald and Eva Kinney Family Foundation, Mary O. Olson, Pohlad Companies, and Twin Cities Performance Ferrari; supporting sponsor Christie’s; media sponsor Star Tribune; and opening weekend sponsors JE Dunn and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.