At Palazzo Pitti, Florence, the scheduled second step of the program “Un anno ad arte 2012 is “Japan, Land of Enchantement”. The event, inaugurated on April the 2nd 2012 and going on up to July the 1st 2012, means to be the right homage to a people known to the town since the Medicis’ time, more exactly since 1585.
Here under the guide of Alessandro Valignano,
a Jesuit missionary, the Japanese ambassadors were disclosed the wonders of the Renaissance, much earlier than the English and Americans brought to Florence by the Grand Tour. The exhibition tells about an extremely sophisticated culture, basically focused on line and colour, able to get to essence in spite of the minute details, the use of gold and the chromatic game concerning both a tea bowl and a folding screen. Divided in three different shows, it is hosted by the different museums of the Palazzo Pitti. On the ground floor, in the summer residence of the Medicis, nowadays called “Museo degli Argenti”, the artworks on show allow the visitor a plunge into Japan’s history, from the times of the shoguns , 13th and 14th century rulers to the pre-industrial Japanese era of the military nobility of the samurais. The masterworks, ranging from painting and calligraphy to sculpture, ceramics and fabrics come from various Japanese and European museums, which have highly contributed to the show together with the Florentine Stibbert Museum.
among which the scroll “Five Beaties “ of the great painter Katsushika Hokusai from Kyoto Hosomi Museum. The voyage into the 20th century Japan continues in the White Hall of the Galleria Palatina with the applied arts. The Galleria di Arte Moderna is devoted to Japanism, that is the suggestions of the East on mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when Japan opened to the world, getting out of two centuries’isolation. Japanism became a real mania and the fashion turned to its fans, screens, kimonos and the prints of Utamaro, Hokusai and Hiroshige inspired the western artistic world. France, for instance had already investigated on the influence of Japan on painters such as Whistler, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh and Gaugain. Now this Florentine exhibition, for the first time, focuses on the relationship between Japan and painters such as the Macchiaioli and other later artists De Nittis, Balla, Signorini or even the same Mariano Fortuny.
Japanism has also touched theatre, a small section is, in fact, devoted to the sketches and posters of Madame Butterfly by Puccini and Iris by Mascagni. An event not to be missed on April the 14 th and the 15th 2012 the tea ceremony in the Cortile dell’Ammanati and a concert in the Cappella Palatina on the notes which welcomed the Japanese ambassadors in 1585.
An ideal circular conclusion drawing back to the very beginning of a culturally enriching relationship