Uffizi masterpieces to show black culture's role in the Renaissance

The Florence gallery's Black Presence project includes an online tour and special events

Perseus frees Andromeda by Piero di Cosimo is seen at the Uffizi gallery, one of the artworks featured in its "Black Presence" project. Gallerie degli Uffizi/ Reuters
Perseus frees Andromeda by Piero di Cosimo is seen at the Uffizi gallery, one of the artworks featured in its "Black Presence" project. Gallerie degli Uffizi/ Reuters

Italy's Uffizi gallery is planning to showcase several of its masterpieces for a project to highlight the part that black people and culture played in the Renaissance.

Under the Black Presence initiative, images of works including Cristofano dell’Altissimo's Portrait of the King of Abyssinia will be posted online by the gallery for a series of discussions and other events.

The project is part of the Black History Month Florence programme in the Italian city.

"The idea is also to offer food for thought in the debate on racial issues currently making the front pages and taking centre stage in the political debate," the gallery said in a statement.

King of Abyssinia by Cristofano dell'Altissimo is part of a project by Italian museum The Ufizzi Gallery to explore Black culture in Renaissance art. Gallerie degli Uffizi/ Reuters
King of Abyssinia by Cristofano dell'Altissimo is part of a project by Italian museum The Ufizzi Gallery to explore Black culture in Renaissance art. Gallerie degli Uffizi/ Reuters

Opening events on Saturday include a concert in front of Piero di Cosimo's Perseus Freeing Andromeda, which features a black musician playing in the foreground.

Staff said a series of eight videoed discussions will be posted on Facebook every week throughout the summer.

"(Uffizi) masterpieces speak a universal language that helps us not only to comprehend their own era better, but also to understand the future that we wish to build", Uffizi director Eike Schmidt said.

Other paintings featuring in the project include Adoration of the Magi by Albrecht Durer.

In addition to the online tour, the gallery has reopened its first and second floors to visitors with new measures in place to protect people from contracting the coronavirus. Face masks are compulsory, one-way direction rules are in place and halls that do not allow for social distancing remain closed.

Updated: July 3, 2020 01:31 PM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one