Artemisia UpClose – Artemisia in the Michelangelo Museum

Casa Buonarroti – Florence
27 SEPTEMBER 2023 – 08 JANUARY 2024

The restoration of the Inclination by Artemisia Gentileschi, placed from the beginning on the ceiling of the Galleria Buonarrotiana, generously financed by Calliope Arts and Christian Levett, has allowed a rereading and appreciation of the work that was unthinkable before the intervention and other discoveries have come from the diagnostic investigations which made it possible to reveal the first intentions, the preparatory drawing and the original painting, then partly veiled by Baldassarre Franceschini known as the Volterrano on behalf of Leonardo Buonarroti, nephew of the client Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger, scandalized by the nudity of the allegorical figure female.

The importance and novelty of these results and the need for their communication to the public made it possible to set up the exhibition on the ground floor of Casa Buonarroti.

The first section, entitled La Fama, is dedicated to the Florentine years (1613-1620) of the now famous painter, protected by the Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici, and welcomed, on 19 July 1616, the only woman, into the Academy of Arts of the Drawing.

Alongside paintings belonging to Casa Buonarroti such as the restored Inclination and the Portrait of Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger, who commissioned it, by Cristofano Allori, dating back to around 1610, there is a valuable portrait of the Grand Duke, by Sustermans, from the Corsini Collection , and the Santa Maria Maddalena di Artemisia in the Palatine Gallery, commissioned by the Medici and recently restored, in a comparison with the Inclination which has a great impact on the public.

The second section is dedicated to the Inclination and its author’s relationships with the client, attested by the autograph documents preserved in the Buonarroti Archive and relating to the invention of the ceiling, of which the canvas is part, to the payment for the painting with 34 florins, much higher than that perceived by male colleagues and Gentileschi’s need for money for the debts incurred by her and her husband.

An ancient compass, coming from the Galileo Museum, like the one held in the hands of the allegorical figure, documents the contacts of Michelangelo and Artemisia with the world of science and, in particular, with the scientist Galileo Galilei.

The third section is dedicated entirely to the complex restoration intervention and the investigations it entailed, illustrated by a video that allows the public to retrace the exciting stages of an exemplary operation which involved the highest scientific professionals and which we hope is followed by other interventions for the conservation and protection of the priceless heritage of Casa Buonarroti.