Firenze, February 16, 2019
The new year is moving fast and already we have plunged deep into our next activities in favor of the Uffizi Galleries, but I cannot help looking back to last year’s unprecedented string of outstanding accomplishments and feel once again overwhelmed with gratitude for your continued loyalty, commitment and generosity that made it all possible.
The sequence of remarkable projects completed in 2018 thanks to the Friends’ financial support is staggering:
The illumination system and high-end glass cases of the eight renovated rooms dedicated to the Seicento, displaying, among masterpieces by the likes of Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Rubens, also the painting Armida by Cecco Bravo that the Friends acquired and donated to the Uffizi by 2017 Christmas.
The complete refurbishment of the eight new rooms for the prestigious Contini Bonacossi Collection.
The new Leonardo, Raffaello and Michelangelo Rooms jointly funded with the Italian Amici.
The restoration of an important painting by Lorenzo Lotto and one by Correggio thanks to two of our longstanding patrons.
The restoration of yet another – the sixth – of the Valois tapestries series which our patroness Veronica Atkins has pledged to fund restoring; the six hangings then went on view for the first time in the US at the Cleveland Museum of Art, with the active involvement of some dedicated and influential residents determined to further boost the image of our organization.
Not to mention the commitment to restore all the frescoes of the Sala di Bona in Palazzo Pitti through a munificent donation by Veronica Atkins.
We also organized the sixth Florentine weekend to celebrate our endeavors with a close-knit group of donors, who could enjoy a series of exclusive events culminating in the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti, with a concert of the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Orchestra directed by Maestro Valery Gergiev: a once-in-a-lifetime experience made possible by Veronica Atkins, our all-around benefactor of arts and education,.
Ambitious projects are already in the pipeline for 2019: the interventions to be started at Palazzo Pitti for the Sala di Bona; restoration works to be completed for the Botticelli Altarpiece, and begun on one of the Famous Men and Women frescoes by Andrea del Castagno; the new Titian room. And another momentous undertaking: the complete restoration of the Maps Room at the Uffizi with the unveiling already slated for mid-October: a splendid sixteenth-century hall that has been closed to the public for decades, with wall frescoes of the first geographical maps ever recorded and allegorical ceiling paintings.
It is a very exciting yet intimidating prospect: looking back, and looking ahead, I cannot help but think about the strenuous backstage activities this side of the ocean: the visits and meetings with the Directors of the Uffizi Galleries and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, with curators and restorers; the nighttime telephone calls or predawn texting; Vice President Manuel Guerra’s endless appointments with contractors, attorneys and administrators to draw up deeds and clear bureaucratic hurdles.
But the pride and satisfaction in making a difference in the preservation of our cultural heritage keep us going. Above all, the enthusiastic support and unfailing trust of our art-loving Friends is a constant reminder of our common values and passions, an encouragement to meet challenges and overcome difficulties in order to achieve a greater good.
Thank you all for your friendship and true patronage.
Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti