FLORENCE — A group of fashion companies here is harking back to the Renaissance with its support for the arts and architecture.
During the men's wear exhibition Pitti Uomo here last week, Partners of Palazzo Strozzi, an association supported by several industry executives and firms, said it would sponsor the "Cézanne in Florence" exhibition, to bow on March 2, among other projects.
The association was created last month; its backers include Leonardo Ferragamo and Ferragamo Finanziaria SpA, Tod's chief executive Diego Della Valle, François Pinault and Gucci Group, Calvin Klein Collection licensee Fingen SpA and Rocco Forte Hotels. It aims to further Florence's cultural life and role as a European cultural center. To support artistic projects at Palazzo Strozzi, the group vows to make a guaranteed contribution over the next three years of about 3 million euros, or $3.8 million at current exchange. The restored medieval Palazzo Strozzi will reopen with the Cézanne show and will, for the first time, also hold a small permanent exhibition on its history and on the Strozzi family.
The prestigious Galleria degli Uffizi, the city's most prominent museum and art gallery, last week unveiled a 17th-century painting by Johann Carl Loth that was restored with the help of Gianfranco Ferré. The Loth painting, "Adam Grieves for Abel," which originally belonged to Ferdinando de'Medici, was put on public display on Saturday in a new section of the expanded Uffizi, which is expected to double its floor space upon completion of a remodeling project next year.
"We should be attentive of what we produce and preserve — after all, these are properties that belong to all of us," said Massimo Macchi, ceo of Gianfranco Ferré. "There is a lot that we can do, and this is a program that we plan to continue."
Macchi noted that Ferré was working with Florentine officials to organize exhibitions at Palazzo Navone, a 16th-century Renaissance building on Via della Vigna Nuova, off central Via Tornabuoni, where the designer opened a boutique last year. (Macchi revealed the company was redoing its Los Angeles boutique in the style of its store in Florence, and that it would open a shop in Hong Kong next month and one in Rome by the summer.)The restoration of the painting, which was in "dramatic condition," according to restorer Anna Monti, cost 8,400 euros, or almost $11,000.
"Compared to fashion's big sponsorships, this is not a commitment significant in terms of economic obligations, but rather in terms of time and attention," said Macchi. The executive said Ferré, an architect known for his passion for the arts, helped fund the restoration of frescoes by 17th-century artist Guercino in the cathedral of the city of Piacenza in 1983, and donated 300 archival outfits to the Costume Gallery at Palazzo Pitti in 2000.
"Too often, patrons want to finance [the restoration] of major paintings," said Antonio Natale, director of the Uffizi. "The class of a patron such as Mr. Ferré is that he is willing to support a work that does not have a huge resonance," said Natale.
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