Henry Moore Relocated

  • When:   May 18, 2021 - January 09, 2022

Modern art

Henry Moore Relocated
Henry Moore, Guerriero con scudo (Warrior with Shield)

The bronze sculpture Warrior with Shield by Henry Moore returns 'home' and from 18 May 2021 to 9 January 2022 will be exhibited in Palazzo Vecchio, in the Sala Leone X, one of the most representative rooms, below that Terrace of Saturn which represented the stage dreamed of by Moore for his Warrior.

In the aftermath of the great exhibition organized at the Forte di Belvedere in 1972, Henry Moore decided to donate a work to the city of Florence: the bronze sculpture Warrior with Shield, made for the first time in 1953-54 and then presented on the occasion of the famous Florentine retrospective. The work should have been placed in the Loggia di Saturno, in Palazzo Vecchio, but due to an interminable series of vicissitudes it never got there. The artist asked for it to be returned and the Warrior returned to England. Only in the eighties, thanks to a resumption of confrontation with Moore's heirs and the interest of the British Institute of Florence, to which the work was donated at the behest of the artist's family, the bronze finally returned to Florence. Following the agreement between the Florentine municipal administration and the British Institute itself, the formula of the long-term loan for use was reached and it was decided to place the bronze in the first cloister of the monumental complex of Santa Croce, where, up to today, it has been preserved.

Today, fifty years after the exhibition that brought it here for the first time, the sculpture is exhibited in Palazzo Vecchio, in the Sala Leone X. The exhibition, curated by Sergio Risaliti, artistic director of the Museo Novecento, is promoted by the Municipality of Florence, organized by MUS.E and born in collaboration with the British Institute of Florence and Opera di Santa Croce. The exhibition is linked to that series of projects identified with the title Relocated, which in recent years have seen the Medici tapestries and the Chimera of Arezzo as protagonists, and confirms the artistic direction of the Museo Novecento, which since 2018 "exports" its scientific and cultural planning outside the Ex Leopoldine complex, where, in this same period, over one hundred works by the great English artist are exhibited - including drawings, engravings and small bronzes - as part of two exhibition projects: the first, entitled Henry Moore. The sculptor's drawing, created in collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation, running until 18 July 2021; the second, Henry Moore in Tuscany, running until May 30, 2021.

In the early seventies, while Moore, fresh from the success of his exhibition at the Forte di Belvedere, decided to donate the Warrior with Shield to Florence, the then Mayor of the city Luciano Bausi was working to acquire a second work by the artist, Figure Reclining Figure, at the time kept in Berlin, the cost of which amounted to 35,000 pounds. The Warrior would therefore have joined that acquisition and the city would have welcomed two emblematic works by the English master on the territory, in memory of the relationship that had linked him to Florence. However, it was not possible to find the sum necessary to bring the Reclining Figure to Florence and in the end the project to acquire this second job failed. Meanwhile, in 1974, the Shield Warrior returned to town. However, the difficulties of setting up delayed its positioning in the Terrace of Saturn and the sculpture was 'provisionally' presented in the third courtyard of the building: a location that put the metal patina of the work at risk, designed for indoor display.

Ten years later, in 1984, Henry Moore received a photograph taken by David Finn showing the 'abandoned' sculpture in the courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio. The artist also learned of the epithet "monument to the one-armed", with which the Florentines mockingly mocked her, and decided to ask for its return. The Municipality, which in the meantime had lost all rights over it, was forced to send it back to England. The story caused a great stir, finding an important echo in the press of the time, including international ones, and the new mayor, Massimo Bogianckino, worked hard to bring the sculpture back to Florence. Following Moore's death, in August 1986, Maria Luigia Guaita and the then British Consul, urged by the Municipality, wrote heartfelt letters to their daughter Mary and widow Irina in which, touching the strings of esteem and The affection that bound Moore to the cradle of the Renaissance also appealed to the memory of the Florentine exhibition in 1972. In the end, Irina Moore decided to donate the Warrior to the British Institute of Florence and the work was able to return to the city for which it was destined. The work was then placed in the cloister of the monumental complex of Santa Croce, near the "urns of the forts", where it is usually exhibited.

The exhibition at Palazzo Vecchio
Today the Warrior finally returns to Palazzo Vecchio, in one of the most representative monumental rooms of the Palazzo. The work combines the influence of classical statuary and the careful observation of natural forms, revealing the artist's multiplicity of interests. Surrounded by the precious frescoes in the Sala di Leone X, the figure of this mutilated young man spurs us to resist in the face of the battles of history and of everyday life, showing himself in all the immobile and precarious pride of him. Even if at a distance of a few meters, it also triggers a significant dialogue with Michelangelo's Genius of Victory and with the battle scenes that decorate the Salone dei Cinquecento. Moore, a committed pacifist, who had gone through two world wars, celebrates heroism by highlighting the inhumanity of any fratricidal conflict.

Title: Henry Moore Relocated

Opening: May 18, 2021

Ending: January 09, 2022

Organization: MUS.E

Curator: Sergio Risaliti

Place: Palazzo Vecchio, Sala Leone X - Firenze

Address: Piazza della Signoria - Firenze

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9.00 - 19.00; Thursday 9.00 - 14.00.

The exhibition ticket is included in the entrance to the respective museums


Twentieth century museum

Piazza Santa Maria Novella 10 | Florence

e.mail: info@musefirenze.it

More info on this website: http://www.museonovecento.it/