Medici ivory on show for first time ever in Florence

'Ethereal Passions' spans centuries of mercantile prowess

Medici ivory on show for first time ever in Florence

Rome, July 14 - The Medici family's famed collection of ivory sculptures, carvings and assorted artworks have been put together for the first time in a sprawling exhibit at the palace once owned by Florence's most powerful dynasty. On through November 3, 'Ethereal Passions' includes some 150 works, offering a candid glimpse of the mercantile giants' breadth of acquisitions that stretched as far as Africa and Asia throughout and beyond the Renaissance. Ferdinando I de' Medici (1549-1609), Grand Duke of Tuscany is credited with starting one of Europe's most spectacular ivory collections that continued to be enriched into the several hundreds until the decline and eventual fall of the dynasty in the 18th century. In terms of quality, quantity and historical significance, the Medici collection is matched only by those of the imperial court in Vienna and the principalities of Dresden and Monaco. The exhibition features objects of various type, from cups and reliefs, mythological compositions and genre scenes, to saints, portraits of princesses and even ornamental towers. Sections cover the 15th century, when the art of ivory captured the attention of Lorenzo the Magnificent, then move on to the High Renaissance and the explosion of the Baroque with works by Flanders' and Germany's most famous sculptors of the period, such as Leonhard Kern Francois du Quesnoy, Georg Petel and Balthasar Permoser.

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