Two new temporary exhibitions at Museo Novecento in Florence, until 12 October 2020 Mario Mafai and Francesca Banchelli: a dual initiative on courage and passion in art

Mario Mafai. Works from the Alberto Della Ragione collection

Art is a question of ethics, prior to aesthetics,” wrote Mario Mafai, a protagonist of Italian art after the 1930s, and a painter loved by Alberto Della Ragione, one of the greatest collectors and patrons of the arts of the 20th century. The exhibition at Museo Novecento in Florence offers a selection of works from the permanent collections of the museum, narrating the central decades of the Roman painter’s career spanning across World War II, while underlining the bond with Rome, Mafai’s native city, the recurrence of certain subjects (like the still lifes and landscapes), the relationships with other artists (including Scipione and Guttuso), and the political and social commitment in difficult years for Italy and Europe under Nazi and Fascist dictatorship.

Francesca Banchelli. The silent dogs go on their way

The moment we are living is a reservoir of new horizons and rediscoveries, for the individual and for the society. It is dizzying but also fascinating to live and to witness how change can arrive all of a sudden, like a chute that takes you from one level to another.” This short statement conveys the reflections shared by Francesca Banchelli (Montevarchi, Arezzo 1981) and the director of Museo Novecento, Sergio Risaliti, curator of the exhibition together with Eva Francioli. The itinerary starts and develops around the dialogue with the work Apocalisse, painted by Scipione (Gino Bonichi) in 1930 and selected by Banchelli before the world was disrupted by the pandemic. Like many other artists of her generation, Banchelli works with different materials and techniques, from performative actions, dance and theater, to video, drawing, painting, sculpture and sound. All the works on view convey this sense of versatility, and connect to a project the artist has conducted for a number of years, on the theme of the fugitive.