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Mia exhibit brings renaissance artists to Minneapolis

The unprecedented collaboration between the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Uffizi Galleries displays an impressive collection of Renaissance art.
Mias exhibition “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” is open until Jan. 8.
Image by Sophia Zimmerman
Mia’s exhibition “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” is open until Jan. 8.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) debuted its latest exhibition on Oct. 16: “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi.” The exhibition marks the first collaboration between Mia and the Uffizi Galleries.

“Following the extended period in which the pandemic limited the nature of international curatorial collaboration, the opportunity to bring wonderful works of art from the Uffizi to Minneapolis is nothing short of incredible,” Katie Luber, Nivin and Duncan MacMillan director and Mia president, said in a statement.

Florence, Italy, is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has long remained a modern hub for art and culture. Sandro Botticelli’s works lie at the center of the city’s renaissance movement, representing life as it was during the Medici family’s rule through a variety of paintings and drawings.

From portraits of the Florentine elite to depictions of various religious experiences and mythological happenings, Botticelli’s works have retained significance since their creation. It is the significance of his work that renders Mia’s new exhibit noteworthy.

“Florence was the cradle of the renaissance, and we traced the renaissance through the life of Botticelli,” co-curator Rachel McGarry said. McGarry worked alongside co-curator and art historian Cecilia Frosinini to piece together the exhibition.

Five galleries make up the exhibition: “Art All’Antica: Virtue, Passion and Pleasure”; “The San Marco Sculpture Garden and Antiquities in Renaissance Florence”; “Sacred Beauty”; “The Renaissance Interior: A Setting of Virtue and Magnificence”; and “From Life: Florentine Faces and People.”

“When these works come back to Florence, we will know more about them than when they left,” Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries, said. According to Schmidt, the robust exhibition catalog (edited by McGarry and Frosinini and collaborated on by 18 other scholars) will offer new insight regarding the works on loan.

Beyond Botticelli, the exhibition highlights works from artists such as Botticelli’s teacher Fra Filippo Lippi as well as Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli and Pietro Perugino. Alongside these works are Roman sculptures from the second century BCE to the second century CE, which offer attendees an opportunity to observe the work that inspired Botticelli himself.

Schmidt emphasized the importance of these antiquities as they allow visitors to observe the way this “cultural collision” led to art that inspires us to this day. Additional standout pieces include Botticelli’s “Pallas and the Centaur,” a remarkably preserved renaissance wedding chest and rare drawings of the artist that had never left Italy before now.

“Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” will run until Jan. 8, 2023. General admission is $20.

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