Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Fra Angelico… The list of artistic geniuses Florence has produced appears endless after a stroll through the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia, the Bargello, or any of Florence’s numerous museums. Replicas of world-famous statues decorate piazzas throughout the city, and street signs boast the surnames of Florentine masters.
In a city exuding such rich art history, the question, Who are the Florentine artists of today? inevitably emerges. Pursuing the question led me straight to EX3, Center of Contemporary Art of Florence.
Taking its name from the word “exhibition” and its location in District 3, EX3 serves as Florence’s showcase for contemporary artists, national and international. Director Sergio Tossi collaborates with Lorenzo Giusti and Arabella Natalini to bring a contemporary art component previously missing in Florence.
Recently presented at EX3 was the work of Olivo Barbieri, winner of the idee indetto dall’agenzia Toscana Promozione for il padiglione TOSCANA all’Expo Universale di Shanghai. TUSCANY in 6 Pieces is a large video-installation offering a virtual tour through the Tuscan landscape, in which Renaissance-type themes of man’s relationship with nature manifest themselves. Barbieri explores current issues of new technology and environmental protection, energy development and sustainable development in man’s modification of his environment. The stark contrast of innovation and tradition, so evident in European cities, also provides an important theme in Barbieri’s work.
There are also education movements within Florence that hope to harness the city’s past and cultivate a new art scene. The Palazzi is one such school promoting international higher education that offers innovative learning strategies to its students. It recognizes Florence’s unique advantage of such a rich historical past and hopes to build on it by nurturing the creative genius in the current generation. With a highly dedicated and passionate administration and staff, they offer courses in liberal and studio arts, business, fashion design, hospitality management, culinary and wine studies, digital imaging and visual arts, and much more.
So the next time you admire an early Renaissance painting, appreciate it for its beauty as well as for its continuing influence on young artists worldwide. You never know who Florence’s next Michelangelo will be.
Written by Kia Wright
Public Relations Intern at The Florence Newspaper