MILAN — Intensifying its investments in the preservation of art works, Gucci has signed on as the lead sponsor of the exhibition “Prince of Dreams: The Medici’s Joseph Tapestries by Pontormo and Bronzino” in Florence.
The showcase is to reunite 20 tapestries from the 16th century commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici to artists Jacopo Pontormo and Agnolo Bronzino that depict the history of biblical patriarch Joseph (Giuseppe Ebreo) — whose alternate fortunes echoed the Medicean dynastic saga. Until now, the tapestries were displayed partly at the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, and partly at the Palazzo Vecchio town hall in Florence.
This project extends the involvement of Gucci, which in June announced the refurbishing of 10 of the tapestries using proceeds from the Gucci Museo. Since opening in September 2011, half of the proceeds from the sale of the museum’s tickets are donated to a fund dedicated to restoring important works from Florence.
Micaela le Divelec, Gucci’s executive vice president and chief corporate operations officer, underscored the “breadth and international resonance” of the project’s new development. The first step, she told WWD, was to “bring back the 10 tapestries to its maximum splendor. Now we examine in depth the history of the works that were originally 20 and that the Savoia [family] separated by bringing 10 of them to the Quirinale.” She added that Italian President Giorgio Napolitano was instrumental in leading the project.
The tapestries, which stretch almost 263 feet, are to travel from Palazzo del Quirinale in late January to the Universal Expo in Milan at the Royal Palace in May and then on to Palazzo Vecchio in their original home—the Sala de’ Dugento, until January 2016.
Le Divelec noted the exhibit would touch three cities that have a deep meaning for Gucci: Rome, home of the brand’s creative direction; Milan, where the fashion shows are held and that “embodies the more glamorous side” of the label; and Florence, Gucci’s “artisanal site, where the activities connected to the production of leather goods and shoes” take place.
The executive declined to disclose the amount invested in the project, but emphasized its “cultural engagement. The message that we want to transmit is cultural. We believe in this kind of initiative that brings these works internationally to a public that would not have the opportunity to see this side of Made in Italy production.”
Le Divelec added that Cosimo de’ Medici “set up a real manufacturing [lab] within his palazzo to create the tapestries.” The exhibit will “encourage new generations to enjoy and learn from history’s artistic legacy,” helping to foster culture, she said.
The project strengthens the Florence-based luxury firm’s ties with the city, which span almost a century. Last year, Gucci acquired out of bankruptcy Italy’s historic luxury tableware and ceramics firm Richard Ginori 1735 SpA.