“Lorenzo Bartolini, scultore del bello”, at the Galleria dell’Accademia,Firenze

The holiday season is here. Enjoy the fun of Florence wrapped by its Christmas lights and decorations. Give yourself a treat, some days’ holiday in one of the elegantly furnished apartaments in Florence, set in a carefully restored historical building, just a few minutes’ walk from Ponte Vecchio. This is one of the many interesting accommodations offered by Tuscanyholidayrent in the ” “Oltrarno” (beyond the river Arno). What about shopping in Florence in  such a holiday atmosphere? Among the many gifts you will bring back  home, one special for you: a visit to the Accademia

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the exhibition of the 18th century sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini. It has been extended up to January the 8th 2012, because of its great success.

Focusing on Bartolini’s numerous plaster casts, owned by the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence  rightly dedicates him an appealing exhibition to highlight his high-ranking production which has significantly marked the19th century sculpture in Italy and Europe.

The masterworks on show turn around the19th century main issues  such as  feelings, memory, ethical and civil values. The due homage to the artist who, in spite of his  French  experience, always felt a strong link with his motherland.

Born in 1777 in the outskirts of Prato, Bartolini had his training at Florence Academy  before leaving, at the end of the18th century, for Paris. Here he  studied painting  under the guide of Federic Desmarais whose destiny, like Bartolini’s, would  be involved with Carrara Academy,as vice president, thanks to Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister.

Paris, capital of art, and Carrara, iconic marble site, cross through an artistic liason.

In Paris Bartolini approached sculpture under the guide of Francois Frédèric Lemont

A curiosity: the visitors of the most Parisian  Place Vendome hardly know that  Bartolini executed parts of the  bas-relief of the Battle of Austerlitz, decorating the column domineering the octagonal square. Napoleon was crucial to Bartolini’s art. He was the Italian counterpart of the French painter David, being  the quasi-official portrait sculptor of the Bonapartes. Even after Napoleon’s fall, Bartolini ‘s fortune continued thanks to  his sister Elisa Baciocchi. In fact the Italian sculptor would later come  to direct the Carrara Academy of sculpture, in spite of the local  artistic opposition.

The exhibition variously includes the stylistic features of Bartolini .

On show the neoclassical period including the Bonaparte commissions  such as the bronze of Napoleon the 1st directly coming from the Louvre and Elisa Napoleona  from the  Museum des Beaux Arts in Rennes. The art of Bartolini’s enriches itself into a wider perspective, deepening down into a new psychological subtlety, here witnessed by the portraits of the international intellectual milieu of the Grand Tour, such as M.me de Stael, Byron, Liszt, the Marquis of Londerry, the Demidoffs and Poniatowski.

Bartolini progressively abandons the neoclassic academic taste in favour of a closer imitation of nature.  A good example is the Ammostatore, featuring a young boy treading grapes who reminds us of the stylistic elements of Verrocchio and Donatello.

The statue paves the way to his most famous work ” Fiducia in Dio” executed in 1835 for Rosina Poldi Pezzoli who meant to express, through the commission, her faith after her husband’s death. The result is a naked young woman crouching in an attitude of a deep and secret devotion with hands joined in a prayer. It will  pave the way to a work of 1845 the Ninfa dello Scorpione much appreciated by Baudelaire himself.

A right homage from Florence to Bartolini, who has become a living memory of the Florentine everyday life. Anyone passing by or strolling downtown in Piazza Demidoff, can’t avoid casting a glance at his magnificently rich monument to Russian Nicola Demidoff who played a significant role in the artistic and cultural life of the 19th century  Florence

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