An exhibition in Palermo to celebrate the return of Donna Franca Florio's portrait

Villa Zito in Palermo will celebrate the return of Giovanni Boldini's portrait of Donna Franca Florio with an exhibition.

After painful vicissitudes and its purchase at auction last April 30 for 1.133 million euros from Marquis Annibale and Marida Berlingieri, the famous Portrait of Donna Franca Florio created by Giovanni Boldini will return to its Palermo home and will be the focus of the long-awaited event"The Return of Donna Franca Florio."

The exhibition curated by Matteo Smolizza will be inaugurated at Villa Zito on Friday, March 16, at 5 p.m. The exhibition will open on March 17 and will end on May 20, 2018.

With this occasion, the Sicily Foundation honors Palermo Italian Capital of Culture 2018.

The president of Fondazione Sicilia, Raffaele Bonsignore, said, “The return of Boldini’s masterpiece has a strong symbolic value, not only because it coincides with this year of rebirth, but also because it represents the city’s embrace of an extraordinary and never forgotten woman like Franca Florio, whom we also wanted to celebrate through a series of collateral initiatives.”

Matteo Smolizza, curator of the exhibition, added, “The exhibition solves a mystery that has lasted more than 100 years: the canvas on display today is in fact Boldini’s only portrait of Donna Franca Florio, finished in 1924 and under which lie the first draft, made by the painter in Palermo in 1901, in which Donna Franca appears in full and almost impersonal elegance, and an intermediate one datable around World War I, which depicts her instead with accentuated sensuality and which - long believed to be the first version of the work - has sparked a series of mischievous interpretations about Don Ignazio Florio’s jealousy and relationship with Boldini.”

For more details:

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Tickets: Full 5 euros, reduced 3 euros. Free for under 18s.

Image: Giovanni Boldini, Portrait of Donna Franca Florio (1901-1924; oil on canvas, 221 x 119.4 cm)

An exhibition in Palermo to celebrate the return of Donna Franca Florio's portrait
An exhibition in Palermo to celebrate the return of Donna Franca Florio's portrait

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