Florence Academy Gallery: the Lorenzo Bartolini Archive is online, accessible to all

The Accademia Gallery in Florence has put the Lorenzo Bartolini Archive online, accessible to all, to further enhance the sculptor's entire oeuvre.

The Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence recently reopened its fully renovated Gipsoteca, and thanks to the work that has just been completed, the masterpieces of Lorenzo Bartolini, one of the most important sculptors of the 19th century, are brought to light; at the same time, it has just completed the digitization of the Tuscan artist’s archive, and it is now available online, accessible to all directly from the Gallery’s website on the “Historical Archive” page within the “Collections” (Lorenzo Bartolini Archive).

“The project to digitize the archive,” explains Academy Gallery director Cecilie Hollberg, "allows us to further enhance Bartolini’s entire oeuvre. Started in 2020, in collaboration with the Archival Service of the Scuola Superiore Normale of Pisa, which took care of the software, it has seen the revision of all the material, the scanning of the papers and the uploading of the images. Today it is available to scholars and anyone interested in learning about Lorenzo Bartolini and delving into his artistic and personal history. The vast correspondence, ranging from relationships with international patrons to those with Carrara marble workers, along with the many receipts for purchases of fine wines, carriage rides and theater tickets, and other various curiosities, paint us a portrait of Bartolini with a distinct zest for life."

The archive came to the Gallery through two separate donations in 2011 and 2013, respectively, by the nonprofit Friends of Florence Foundation and theFriends of the Museum of Musical Instruments Association. The two cores were acquired by the heirs of Paolina Napoleone, one of the sculptor’s three daughters, and the records were carefully reorganized and inventoried in 2014. Divided into nine series, the archive includes personal and business papers, correspondence related to the commissioning of works, minute papers, legal and accounting documents, notebooks with drawings, and printed material. The time span of the papers is from 1810 to 1850, the year of Bartolini’s death. Later documentation, dated up to 1935, traces events related to hereditary matters. It includes about 12,800 manuscript papers, as well as about 870 pages of printed material, mostly from the 19th century, and digitization has produced more than 24,000 scans.

The papers return a picture of the sculptor with a complex personality, well aware of the value of his work. Thanks to his vast patronage, he had become famous as an international portrait painter, especially among the English, Poles, Russians, and Spaniards, and in the large studio in San Frediano in Florence, whose atmosphere is recreated in the Gipsoteca of the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, activity was very hectic. A lover of good food and conviviality, he often shared the table with important men of culture of the time. Passionate about theater and music, he often ended his evenings in company at the Pergola, or at the Cocomero (today’s Niccolini) or the Teatro Pagliano, where he arrived in a wheelchair, as documented by the theater tickets and receipts from the “barrocciai,” which have come down to us in large numbers, preserved among the papers in his archives.

Photo by Guido Cozzi

Florence Academy Gallery: the Lorenzo Bartolini Archive is online, accessible to all
Florence Academy Gallery: the Lorenzo Bartolini Archive is online, accessible to all

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.