A Rarely-Seen Botticelli Work Displayed in Montevarchi

For those seeking a fun day trip with a unique artistic goal, look no further than Montevarchi’s current Renaissance exhibition, featuring a hidden gem by the legendary Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli.

Montevarchi is a small yet picturesque Tuscan town in the province of Arezzo, just under an hour south of the heart of Florence. Overlooking its elegant Piazza Varchi is the recently restored Palazzo del Podestà, home to a series of temporary show with stunning art pieces from a wide variety of painters.

The Palazzo’s current display, “Botticelli, Della Robbia, Cigoli. Rediscovering Montevarchi’s Artistic Heritage,” showcases 10 Renaissance gems that have some relation to the town and its contributions to Italy’s rich artistry between the 15th and 17th centuries. Some works were discovered in local churches and forced to undergo extensive restorations, while others were crafted by artists who spent much of their lives in Montevarchi.

The crown jewel of the display is undoubtedly “L’incoronazione” by Botticelli, making its triumphant return to its hometown after being stolen during the 19th century Napoleonic suppression of ecclesiastical property. Presumably completed in 1508 for the high altar of the Franciscan church of San Ludovico, the bottom panel portrays a large group of saints, including Saint Ludovico da Tolosa, looking up to admire the Virgin Mary’s coronation by God the Father in the depiction above. Beyond this masterpiece, visitors will also be able to enjoy artworks by more enigmatic Tuscan artists with connections to Montevarchi, such as Giovanni Martinelli (1600-1659) and Jacopo Vignali (1592 – 1664).

The exhibition will remain open until April 28, 2019 and includes an entrance fee of up to €5. The gallery is open from Thursday to Sunday, from 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm. The show will be closed on Easter, but open on Pasquetta (Easter Monday), April 22. More information can be found at www.comune.montevarchi.ar.it or by contacting Montevarchi’s Culture Office by email at ufficio.cultura@comune.montevarchi.ar.it.  (lea bourgade)