48 Uffizi self-portraits fly to China. It is the first of 10 exhibitions the museum will do in Shanghai


The Uffizi is lending 48 self-portraits from its collection to Shanghai's Bund One Art Museum for the first of ten exhibitions in five years that the Florentine museum will organize in China. In return, the Shanghai museum is offering 6 million euros.

Forty-eight Uffizi self-portraits are going to China for the first of ten exhibitions in five years that the Florence museum will mount at Shanghai’s Bund One Art Museum . In return, the Chinese institution will support the Uffizi with six million euros, based on an agreement that was signed in November. The exhibition is titled Self-Portraits. Masterpieces from the Uffizi, is scheduled to run from September 7, 2022 to January 8, 2023 at the Shanghai museum and brings to China for the first time a selection from the Uffizi Gallery’s collection of self-portraits, the largest in the world with its more than two thousand items.

As mentioned, there are 48, in total, paintings at the center of the exhibition. These will include Raphael’sSelf-Portrait , Marc Chagall’s Blue Face, Giorgio Morandi’s self-portrait, painting himself dry as one of his still lifes, theironic self-portrait by Nicola van Houbraken that rips through the canvas and seems to come out of the painting, and then again Giacomo Balla ’sAutocaff è, Renato Guttuso’s self-portrait, those of Gian Lorenzo Berini, Rembrandt, Pieter Paul Rubens.

Raphael Sanzio, Self-Portrait (c. 1504-1506; oil on panel, 47.5 x 33 cm; Florence, Uffizi Galleries)
Raphael Sanzio, Self-Portrait (c. 1504-1506; oil on panel, 47.5 x 33 cm; Florence, Uffizi Galleries)

The Uffizi’s collection of self-portraits, begun in the seventeenth century by Cardinal Leopold de’ Medici, never interrupted over the centuries, still growing thanks to targeted acquisitions of works by artists no longer living and selected donations from contemporary artists, is a unique collection worldwide. Moreover, self-portraiture is currently the only way for living artists to enter the Uffizi collection. Recently, street art and comic book works have also been welcomed there.

The exhibition, curated by Alessandra Griffo and Vanessa Gavioli, is part of the events planned for 2022, Year of Italy-China Culture and Tourism. This is the first chapter of the collaboration with the Bund One Art Museum: exhibitions will cover various segments of the Galleries’ collections. This multi-year program is the result of a work supported by the Ministry of Culture, the Embassy of Italy in the People’s Republic of China, the Consulate General of Italy in Shanghai and the Italian Cultural Institute in Shanghai, which aims to constantly promote the enhancement of the Italian museum system and artistic heritage in the world. Shanghai Tix Media with Bund One Art Museum pursues the mission of offering the Chinese public the opportunity to discover original works of the most beloved masters of Italian art in China.

“While the individual personality of each artist can be captured in each of these paintings,” says Uffizi Director Eike D. Schmidt, “putting together such a well-chosen group of self-portrait masterpieces the special responsibility of artists as great communicators of the development of human society. The year 2022 is the Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism: the Uffizi is therefore particularly happy to share such a significant selection of our superb collection of self-portraits with the Shanghai public at this particular time. A collection that is unparalleled in the international art scene and which, thanks to tireless work conducted daily by the Galleries, continues to grow even today.”

“It is a great pride,” emphasizes Tiziana D’Angelo, consul general in Shanghai, “to be able to celebrate this extraordinary collaboration between the Uffizi Galleries in Florence and the Bund One Art Museum in Shanghai in the Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism. It begins with ”Self-Portraits“ a path that aims to make the Uffizi Galleries, Florence and Italy’s great cultural heritage the absolute protagonists of Shanghai’s cultural scene in the next five years. A path that, I am sure, will represent a formidable stage to strengthen the knowledge and appreciation of Italian art and creativity on the global scene.”

"Self-Portraits from the Uffizi," points out Francesco D’Arelli, director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Shanghai, “is a picture gallery of gazes, an open book of faces of artists, who have written, from the Renaissance to contemporary times, some of the most memorable pages of art history. Florence and Shanghai, the Uffizi Galleries and the Bund One Art Museum continue to look at each other with the curiosity of culture and art that has always marked the dialogue between Italy and China, cradles of the most ancient civilizations.”

48 Uffizi self-portraits fly to China. It is the first of 10 exhibitions the museum will do in Shanghai
48 Uffizi self-portraits fly to China. It is the first of 10 exhibitions the museum will do in Shanghai


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