Uffizi unveils new addition and opens at Lucca Comics. Schmidt: "we have to be pop."

Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt today presented the museum's newest acquisition, a self-portrait by Bernardino Nocchi, and announced a future collaboration with Lucca Comics. "The museum has to be pop," Schmidt said.

An important day today for the Uffizi Galleries: director Eike Schmidt was in fact present at the opening of Lucca Comics in Lucca, and on the occasion he presented the museum’s most recent purchase and announced a future collaboration with the famous games and comics event. The purchase is a youthful self-portrait by eighteenth-century Lucca painter Bernardino Nocchi (Lucca, 1741 - Rome, 1812). The artist trained in his hometown and then in 1769 moved to Rome, where he was able to mature his own style capable of offering a synthesis of neo-Baroque impulses and classicist reminiscences à la Guido Reni, which Nocchi proposed in parallel with the nascent neoclassical art (he was moreover a friend of Antonio Canova, who probably, in 1803, in Rome recommended him for the commission of the altarpiece with The Apotheosis of Saints Pudenziana, Novato and Timothy for the church of Santa Pudenziana).

Nocchi is one of the most outstanding painters of eighteenth-century Lucca. In the self-portrait just acquired by the Uffizi, the painter proudly shows in the foreground the tools of his trade: his palette, brushes still soaked in color, and a painting he is working on, depicting a satyr and a cupid, on the upper margin of which is the date 1763. The work thus shows us Bernardino Nocchi at the age of twenty-two: the painter is presented as a young man of sober, refined elegance (as can be seen by the beautiful striped silk robe, bow tie and neat hairstyle), who would soon (as early as 1766) become associated with the Lucca Academy of Painting and Sculpture, becoming one of its four directors from the following year.

“To the Uffizi’s gallery of self-portraits,” commented Eike Schmidt, “is added an important protagonist of eighteenth-century Tuscan art, active mainly in the capital like his fellow citizen and predecessor Pompeo Batoni. His neo-Baroque vocation did not prevent him from becoming a close friend and of Antonio Canova, who sensed his great gifts and had some of his sculptures reproduced in painting. With his self-portrait, Bernardino Nocchi brings to the Uffizi a further testimony to that great Roman artistic season at the dawn of neoclassicism, in which the last fires of seventeenth-century painting were nevertheless still alive.”

Bernardino Nocchi, Self-Portrait (1763; oil on canvas, 58 x 44.5 cm)
Bernardino Nocchi, Self-Portrait (1763; oil on canvas, 58 x 44.5 cm)

But that’s not all: in Lucca there was also a way to present the collaboration between Uffizi and Lucca Comics. The idea is to organize meetings, exhibitions, and comparisons between art historians and comic book masters in order to create a mixture that, according to Schmidt, could be interesting and open art history to new audiences. Lucca Comics is in fact the largest Italian and European fair dedicated to comics, games and video games, animation, and science fiction. It is an event that attracts tens of thousands of people to Lucca every year in the space of a few days: presences that could even spill over into the area’s museums, if the museums are able to attract them in the right way.

“It is natural,” Schmidt said, “that the Uffizi Galleries want to confront and dialogue with such a fruitful, important and popular reality. I will say more: we want to give birth to a collaboration with Lucca Comics, in the sign of union and synergy between all forms of art, between all forms of expression precisely. By the way, now, at a time when there is an overbearing return to the health emergency, is the time to send a strong cultural and symbolic message: that of so many different art forms and cultural expressions reaching out to each other and supporting people with their strength in their resistance to Covid. Finally, one last thought: the idea of the Uffizi opening up, becoming ’pop’ (because they are, the museum has to be), seeking sharing and confrontation with the many realities outside themselves, is perfectly part of that plan of ’Uffizi diffused’ throughout the Tuscan territory, but not only, that we have been tenaciously pursuing for months through the establishment of common projects with so many different places. Soon, therefore, there will also be Lucca.”

Eike Schmidt with the mayor of Lucca, Paolo Tambellini, and Bernardino Nocchi's self-portrait
Eike Schmidt with the mayor of Lucca, Paolo Tambellini, and Bernardino Nocchi’s self-portrait

Uffizi unveils new addition and opens at Lucca Comics. Schmidt:
Uffizi unveils new addition and opens at Lucca Comics. Schmidt: "we have to be pop."

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.