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Pietro Annigoni Museum in Florence

A brand new location for the most extensive collection of Annigonian paintings in existence: the museum at Villa Bardini.

Exhibits will be altered annually in order to allow visitors and aficionados the chance to view the entire collection over time. Instalments will be arranged by thematic element, as determined by the curators.

In this first phase, the board is offering the public access to a wide array of Annigoni’s early works, most of which relate to the artist’s family life (his first wife, Anna Maggini, his children Benedetto and Ricciarda, his father and his mother). Included are the paintings Solitudine II and Solitudine III, Cinciarda, Vecchio Giardino, Interno di Studio, la Soffitta del Torero and Morte del Mendicante as well as medals, lithographs, designs and objects found in the master’s study after his death, including his famous rocking chair, his easels, his paint boxes and the dummy he used as a model for his metaphysically-themed endeavors.

Milan born artist, Pietro Annigoni, is notorious for his rejection of modern and postmodern techniques in portraiture. He chose instead to paint predominantly in the style developed during the Renaissance. Taking this into consideration lends itself to hightened fascination for the viewer since his works, even those in this first installment of the exhibit, range from the abstract to Dali-like images of surrealism to works that are easily mistaken for photographs. (The best examples of the latter are Annigoni's twelve drawings of Florence in the aftermath of the German raids.) As one strolls through the galleries, it becomes profoundly evident that Annigoni's high opinion of himself was was not out of line with his aptitude and also that he gave various styles and techniques a chance before wholeheartedly ridiculing them in his less-than-subtle manner.

Five times during his lifetime, the artist's portraits were featured on the cover of Time magazine in the US, but perhaps his most famous portrait is one of Queen Elizabeth II (above). Examples of his brilliance can be found on display in the Vatican Museum, Windsor Castle, The National Portrait Gallery in London, The Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Annigoni died in 1988.

It goes without saying that the Villa and surrounding Gardens in and of themselves –a valued effort in restoration by the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze – provide an excellent added incentive to visitors as well as the perfect location for the museum. The area surrounding Costa San Giorgio (almost beneath Piazzale Michelangelo and two steps from Santa Croce) is one of the most evocative in Florence, with views of the city superior to those of any other vantage point in the region.

The Villa Bardini is located at Costa San Giorgio 2 in Florence with an alternate entrance at Via dei Bardi 1r. From October 1st through March 31st the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. From April 1st through September 30th hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

For more information, call 055-2638599 or 055-2346988

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