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An unparalleled success for Palazzo Strozzi
Jacopo Carrucci, known as Pontormo (1494-1557), Visitation, 1528. Oil on panel; 202 x 156 cm. Carmignano, Pieve di San Michele.
FLORENCE.- Palazzo Strozzi’s Pontormo and Rosso. Diverging Paths of Mannerism, a major exhibition devoted to the two most important exponents of what Vasari called “the modern manner”, attracted an impressive 150,000 visitors. Promoted and organised by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and sponsored by Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze , the exhibition was proved to be a huge success with both the general public and art critics, who hailed it as a cultural event not to be missed. This attendance figure exceeds that for Bronzino. Painter and Poet at the Medici Court in 2010, thus further consolidating the Palazzo Strozzi’s reputation for excellence.

Curated, as was Bronzino, by Antonio Natali, director of the Uffizi Gallery, and Carlo Falciani, a lecturer in art history, the exhibition explored the parallel yet divergent lives of these “unlike twins” who only drew closer again towards the end of their careers.

A breakdown of the figures indicates that groups (adults and school parties) accounted for 23,950 admissions. Some 950 people took part in assisted educational activities (for families and adults), while 2,322 visitors signed up for independent activities (such as the Family Suitcase and the Drawing Kit). Approximately 600 visitors participated in the Thursday Squared event, while a total of 210 people joined activities for special audiences (With Many Voices for people with Alzheimer’s and their carers and a pilot project for young people suffering from autism), and 10,482 people took guided tours.

Palazzo Strozzi’s Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina (CCCS) concurrently staged Family Matters. Portraits and experiences in family today, which also proved popular with a final attendance figure of 35,000. Curated by Riccardo Lami and Franziska Nori, it presented the work of eleven international artists: Guy Ben-Ner, Sophie Calle, Jim Campbell, John Clang, Nan Goldin, Courtney Kessel, Ottonella Mocellin+Nicola Pellegrini, Trish Morrissey, Hans Op de Beeck, Chrischa Oswald and Thomas Struth, and invited reflection on the concept of the family in the contemporary world. In achieving this figure, Family Matters mirrors the extraordinary result in 2013 of Strozzina’s exhibition Francis Bacon and the Existential Condition in Contemporary Art, thus confirming the quality of Palazzo Strozzi’s agenda for contemporary culture and art in Tuscany and placing it on a par with the best that the national and international contemporary cultural scene has to offer.

The conferences and events organised in parallel with the exhibition, ranging from activities for schools and universities to those for families and adults. The Read Aloud project, whereby experts from a variety of disciplines alternated with such literary figures as Jonathan Lethem and Michael Cunningham to offer an interdisciplinary take on the themes addressed in the exhibition, attracted numerous participants and triggered lively debates.

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