Portrait of Elia Volpi restored by Conservation Department for Rome Exhibit | SACI College of Art & Design Florence


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Portrait of Elia Volpi restored by Conservation Department for Rome Exhibit

SACI's Conservation Department recently restored a portrait for "Voglia d’Italia" (Yearning for Italy), an important exhibition on view in Rome.

A portrait of Elia Volpi (1858-1938), a famous Florentine art dealer, was fully restored by the Conservation Department at SACI and transported to the Gallerie Sacconi at the Vittoriano in Rome for the exhibition “Voglia d’Italia. Il collezionismo internazionale nella Roma del Vittoriano” (Yearning for Italy. International Collecting in the Rome of the Vittoriano). The exhibition will remain on view through March 4, 2018.

A section of the exhibition offers an in-depth look at the central role of Elia Volpi in the antiques market between Italy and the United States. Volpi had an important and extensive collection, mainly composed of Italian medieval and Renaissance artworks and formerly housed in Palazzo Davanzati in Florence. He helped create an interest in Renaissance Art and home furnishings throughout America. Paolo Zanchi, a fellow restorer and close collaborator, created the portrait of Volpi in 1915.

Yearning for Italy. International Collecting in the Rome of the Vittoriano

The exhibition offers visitors the first comprehensive display of the vast and astonishing collection which American husband and wife George Washington Wurts and Henrietta Tower put together at the turn of the 19th century and subsequently donated to the Italian state – specifically to the museum of Palazzo Venezia, where it is still housed today. The exhibition also sets out to recreate the context: that unique turn-of-the-century approach to collecting which became so intimately bound up with Italy that it frequently resulted in the donation either of individual works or of entire collections to the Italian state. The exhibition explores the dynamics of (particularly Anglo-American) collecting and of the international market against the backdrop of radical change being experienced by the young Italian nation and its new capital, Rome, in those years.

The section of the exhibition hosted in Palazzo Venezia is devoted to the Wurts, showcasing the most significant works from their collection, many of which were removed from storage, studied and cleaned specially for the occasion.

The context within which the Wurts’ passion for collecting flourished is recreated in the Gallerie Sacconi at the Vittoriano, where numerous exhibits from prestigious Italian and foreign museums and private collections conjure up the atmosphere of a world made of auctions, of dealers, of markets both national and international, and of the triumph of quality craftsmanship inspired by a stylistic revisitation of the art of the past. The exhibition unfolds in parts of the Vittoriano that include recently restored areas not normally open to the public, including the Gallerie Sacconi themselves, thus shining the spotlight on the monument’s interior architecture which, far from simply hosting the exhibition as a mere theater or “vessel," ends up playing a leading role in and of itself.

Find out more about the exhibition.

Interested in studying conservation in Florence? Learn more about the Post-Bac in Conservation program at SACI.

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