• Short Summary

    AN EXHIBITION OPENED IN LONDON YESTERDAY (APRIL 4) OF SOME OF THE GREATEST FRESCOES FROM THE ITALIAN CITY OF FLORENCE.

  • Description

    AN EXHIBITION OPENED IN LONDON YESTERDAY (APRIL 4) OF SOME OF THE GREATEST FRESCOES FROM THE ITALIAN CITY OF FLORENCE. THE EXHIBITION IS HOUSED IN THE NEW HAYWARD GALLERY BESIDE THE THAMES, BUT IT RECALLS A DISASTER 2 1/2 YEARS AGO WHEN ANOTHER RIVER, THE ARNO, BURST ITS BANKS AND ROARED THROUGH ANCIENT AND BEAUTIFUL FLORENCE.

    THE EXHIBITION, WHICH HAS ALREADY VISITED NEW YORK AND AMSTERDAM, IS BEING SHOWN IN LONDON TO MARK THE GRATITUDE OF THE PEOPLE OF FLORENCE FOR THE HELP GIVEN THEM FOLLOWING THE FLOOD DISASTER.

    IT HAPPENED IN NOVEMBER 1966, WHEN THE ARNO, SWOLLEN BY MANY DAYS OF HEAVY RAIN, BURST INTO THE CITY. MANY PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES, AND MANY MORE LOST THEIR POSSESSIONS AND SAW THEIR HOMES RUINED. BUT FLORENCE, AS A TREASURE-HOUSE OF ITALIAN ART AND CULTURE, ALSO SAW HUNDREDS OF ITS PRICELESS WORKS OF ART AND ITS FAMOUS LIBRARIES DESTROYED OR DAMAGED BENEATH MANY FEET (METRES) OF FLOODWATER SATURATED WITH HEATING OIL AND OTHER HARMFUL CHEMICALS.

    THE FRESCOES FOR WHICH THE CITY IS RENOWNED WERE ESPECIALLY THREATENED. A FRESCO IS A PAINTING DONE ON WALL-PLASTER WHILE IT IS STILL WET. THE PIGMENTS SOAK INTO THE PLASTER AND BECOME EFFECTIVELY PART OF THE WALL. MANY OF FLORENCE'S CHURCHES AND PALACES WERE DECORATED IN THIS WAY BY GREAT ARTISTS FROM THE 13TH TO THE 17TH CENTURY.

    FRESCOES ARE VERY DURABLE SO LONG AS THEY REMAIN DRY. BUT DAMP RISING IN THE WALL AND ATTACKING THEM FROM BEHIND HAS DESTROYED MANY IN THE COURSE OF HISTORY, AND THE FLOODS OF 1966 THREATENED MANY MORE WITH TOTAL DESTRUCTION. FORTUNATELY ITALIAN CRAFTSMEN HAD MASTERED THE TECHNIQUE OF REMOVING THEM FROM THEIR WALLS AND RELAYING THEM ON DAMP-PROOF MATERIALS.

    AFTER THE FLOODS AN EMERGENCY OPERATION WAS LAUNCHED TO SAVE THE FRESCOES, AND SOME OF THESE, WITH OTHERS ALREADY RESCUED IN THIS WAY, ARE SHOWN IN THIS EXHIBITION. A BONUS OF THIS WORK IS THAT OFTEN THE ARTIST'S ORIGINAL SKETCH FOR THE WORK IS FOUND ON THE ROUGH PLASTER UNDER THE FRESCO, AND A NUMBER OF THESE ARE EXHIBITED ALONGSIDE THE FINISHED WORKS.

    IN THE FILM ARE:
    THE MADONNA DEL PARTO, PAINTED ABOUT 1330 BY TADDEO GADDI IN A CHURCH IN FLORENCE, TAKEN DOWN AND RESTORED IN 1964.

    ST. ANSANUS, PAINTED ABOUT 1425 BY A MINOR FLORENTINE ARTIST, FRANCESCO D'ANTONIO, SHOWING THE SAINT IN THE ARISTOCRATIC DRESS OF 15TH CENTURY FLORENCE.

    THE TRINITY, PAINTED BY ALESSANDRO ALLORI IN 1571, THE LOWER PART OF WHICH WAS BADLY DAMAGED BY OIL AND FLOODWATER.

    THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN MARY, PAINTED ABOUT 1450 BY AN UNKNOWN MASTER IN THE CATHEDRAL AT PRATO, A FEW MILES (KILOMETRES) FROM FLORENCE.

    PARRI SPINELLI'S SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF ST. NICHOLAS, PAINTED ABOUT 1440 IN A CHURCH AT AREZZO.

    FRA ANGELICO'S ST. PETER MARTYR OF ABOUT 1440, WARNING THE FAITHFUL TO BE QUIET AS THEY ENTER CHURCH.

    PONTORMO'S ARCHANGEL GABRIEL ANNOUNCING CHRIST'S FUTURE BIRTH TO THE VIRGIN MARY (1527).

    THE INFERNO, THE REMAINS OF A HUGE FRESCO PAINTED BY ORCAGNA JUST AFTER THE BLACK DEATH PLAGUE OF 1348.

    PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA'S FRESCO OF SAINT JULIAN, DATING FROM ABOUT 1460 AND FOUND UNDER A COAT OF WHITE PAINT IN 1954.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA47O6B7NFEB836UQVOW6Q5UWWP
    Media URN:
    VLVA47O6B7NFEB836UQVOW6Q5UWWP
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/04/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:27:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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