We The Italians | Italian art: The donation of the Del Bravo collection

Italian art: The donation of the Del Bravo collection

Italian art: The donation of the Del Bravo collection

  • WTI Magazine #136 Feb 20, 2021
  • 565

The donation of Carlo Del Bravo's collection to the Uffizi Gallery has been completed: the Florentine museum has therefore acquired a collection of 455 works, including paintings, drawings and sculptures, which cover a period ranging from the 17th century to the present day. The works include an extraordinary San Giovannino by Rosso Fiorentino and masterpieces by Tribolo, Jacopo Vignali, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Pio Fedi, Giuseppe Bezzuoli and many others.

Carlo Del Bravo was an art historian specializing in Renaissance and 16th century art, particularly sculpture, with interests that also ranged over the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as a professor of art history at the University of Florence. Del Bravo graduated in 1959 with Roberto Longhi. In 1982 he was conferred the chair of History of Modern Art in the same university, where he taught until 2008, and voluntarily even beyond: under his guidance generations of students were formed, including three directors of the Gallery of Modern Art and Antonio Natali, former director of the Uffizi Gallery.

Carlo Del Bravo's scientific production is vast and ranges, among other things, from Sienese art of the 15th century to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raffaello; from the painting of the Florentine 17th century to the sculpture of Cellini and Lorenzo Mochi; from Italian and European artists of the 19th century to Italian sculpture between the two Wars.

As anticipated, among the works that will become part of the public patrimony is Rosso Fiorentino's disheveled and irreverent San Giovannino, the last painting by the great Mannerist painter until now in private hands, that will be part of the new display of early 16th century painting at the Uffizi. Most of the collection will be exhibited in two dedicated rooms in the Gallery of Modern Art in Palazzo Pitti, which will be restored and set up in the coming months. Those spaces have been closed to the public for many decades, and used as offices: they give a spectacular view of Florence's monuments that always enchanted Del Bravo when he looked out of those windows.

Two other adjacent rooms, which have also been inaccessible for more than half a century and have recently been used as storerooms, will once again house the sculptures of Domenico Trentacoste, as they originally were. Del Bravo, moreover, was for decades a member of the Commission for the evaluation and new acquisitions of the Galleria d'Arte Moderna of Palazzo Pitti, which met regularly in those spaces. Within this body, Del Bravo represented an avant-garde cultural model in terms of choices and methodological orientation, advocating purchases of fundamental importance, including the drawings by Pietro Benvenuti, the famous Landscape in Grizzana by Giorgio Morandi, and the marble stele by Lorenzo Bartolini. In addition, an exhibition is being prepared on Carlo Del Bravo as collector, scholar and teacher of generations of students, and a complete scientific catalog of all the works in his collection. Finally, some groups of works from the Carlo Del Bravo bequest will be on display in San Casciano Val di Pesa, the place of birth and early childhood of the scholar.