Sandro Botticelli is considered to be one of the most celebrated and influential artists of the Italian Renaissance, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s newest internationally-celebrated exhibition welcomes works from the multifaceted visual artist’s 30-year career. For the first time ever, 45 works from the renowned Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy will be on display in the U.S., in the Mia’s Target Galleries.
“Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” is the largest and most comprehensive show curated around Botticelli in the United States, and is the first-ever collaboration between the Uffizi Galleries and Mia. The exhibition opens a door to new international cooperation between the galleries.
Botticelli’s work breathed new life into the culture that existed in Italy during his lifetime, according to Mia’s European art historian Rachel McGarry. His work (and that of his inner circle) created new boundaries and conceptualized religious myths and legends in unique new art styles that simulate animation-like movement and facial expression in storytelling detail. Botticelli’s talent and skill piloted him to create three major frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV in 1481.
With a combination of paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, decorative arts, and a selection of ancient Roman marble statues on display from both Botticelli and from members of his inner circle including Botticelli’s master, Fra Filippo Lippi, “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence” combines the rare opportunity to present Botticelli’s most celebrated work with the work that directly inspired him side-by-side. The exhibition encapsulates all that is Botticelli—some of his earliest (“Portrait of a Young Man,” 1470) and oldest paintings (“Madonna and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist,” 1500). His most celebrated creations (“Pallas and the Centaur,” 1482) and a few of his rarest drawings. (“Two Male Nude Figures,” 1475-1482)
The exhibition is divided into separate themes by its five galleries: Art All’Antica: Virtue, Passion, and Pleasure; The San Marco Sculpture Garden and Antiquities in Renaissance Florence; Sacred Beauty; The Renaissance Interior: A Setting of Virtue and Magnificence; From Life: Florentine Faces and People. Each gallery holds a unique combination of pieces specifically brought together to tell the story of Botticelli’s life and work. Whether that be the mythical depiction of Botticelli’s take on women’s power in marriage and relationships in his most famous piece, “Pallas and the Centaur,” or his rarely displayed prototype-like drawings hung near their correlated painting or sculpture, each gallery highlights the hidden details within Botticelli’s works that tell the story of his artistic career.
“Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” will be on display at Mia from Oct. 16 – Nov. 8 with general admission tickets starting at $20 and visitors 17 and under getting in for free.