Uffizi masterpieces show Black culture’s role in the Renaissance

Italy's Uffizi gallery launches a project exploring racial inequality and Black culture in Renaissance
The painting "Perseus frees Andromeda" by Piero di Cosimo is seen at the Uffizi gallery, one of the artworks featured in its "Black Presence" project that explores Black culture in in Renaissance art by bringing together artworks from their collection with leading Black figures and will be discussed on social media on July 4, in this undated handout photo in Florence, Italy. Obtained by Reuters on July 2, 2020. Gallerie degli Uffizi/Handout via REUTERS

July 2, 2020

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Uffizi gallery said on Thursday it was planning to pick out nine of its masterpieces for a project to highlight the part that Black people and culture played in the Renaissance.

Under the “Black Presence” initiative, images of works including Cristofano dell’Altissimo’s “Portrait of the King of Abyssinia” will be posted online from this weekend for a series of discussions and other events.

“The idea is also to offer food for thought in the debate on racial issues currently making the front pages and taking centre stage in the political debate,” the gallery said in a statement.

Opening events on Saturday include a concert in front of Piero di Cosimo’s “Perseus Freeing Andromeda” which has a Black musician playing in the foreground.

Staff said a series of eight videoed discussions will be posted on Facebook every week throughout the summer.

“(Uffizi) masterpieces speak a universal language that helps us not only to comprehend their own era better, but also to understand the future that we wish to build”, Uffizi director Eike Schmidt said.

Other paintings included “Adoration of the Magi” by Albrecht Dürer.

(Reporting by Emily Roe and Angelo Amante; editing by Andrew Heavens)