An Art Lover’s Guide to the Best Florence Exhibitions this Autumn

From October 7 until February 4, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence will showcase artworks by the London-based contemporary artist Anish Kapoor.

From the forbidden beauty of Mapplethorpe’s photos to Anish Kapoor, get ready to be inspired by this list of must-see exhibitions

From October 7 until February 4, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence will showcase artworks by the London-based contemporary artist Anish Kapoor.


By Giulia Piceni.

If you are in Florence, you might be excited to check out all the best art exhibitions the city has to offer. As the leaves begin to fall and the wind gets colder, outdoor activities become less appealing. That’s where museums and galleries come in as the perfect place to spend an afternoon and provide a great source of inspiration to combat the dullness of autumn.
Here is a selection of five must-see exhibitions in Florence this season! 

1. Anish Kapoor – Untrue unreal (Palazzo Strozzi)

From October 7 until February 4, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence will showcase artworks by the London-based contemporary artist Anish Kapoor.
Known for his tricky mirrors, whites, reds and the famous VANTABLACK – a hue that can absorb almost all light – the show promises to spark questions and intrigue everyone, from adults to children. 
The excitement for this exhibition is palpable, and everyone is curious about what the central courtyard site-specific installation will consist of. We’re all ready to be surprised. 

Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1986. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

2. Mapplethorpe – von Gloeden. Beauty and Desire (Museo Novecento)

The photographs taken by the iconic Mapplethorpe seem to capture a sense of desire and a need to seek beauty that feels equally divine and forbidden. His images are frozen in time, encapsulating this feeling perfectly. Forty years after the great 1983 exhibition at the Palazzo delle Cento Finestre, which introduced Mapplethorpe’s work to Florence, the famous New York photographer’s pictures return to the Tuscan city as part of a special project. The exhibition taking place at Museo Novecento in Florence between September 23 and February 14 aims to highlight Mapplethorpe’s link to classicism and the muscular perfection that made Michelangelo famous through a series of visual comparisons with other photographers, such as Wilhelm von Gloeden and Fratelli Alinari.
Wilhelm von Gloeden, a less-known but equally influential photographer who pioneered staged photography, was both a friend and source of inspiration for Mapplethorpe, whom he had the chance to meet in Naples in the 1980s. 
Take a look at these shots to add a queer touch to your autumn!

Nico Vascellari, Melma, 2023, Forte Belvedere. Photo Ela Bialkowska OKNO studio. Courtesy Museo Novecento Firenze.

3. MELMA by Nico Vascellari (Forte Belvedere)

Curated by Sergio Risaliti, MELMA is the latest solo exhibition by the contemporary artist Nico Vascellari. The artist features mediums like video, collages, installations and sounds, translating into mostly site-specific works, just like the nine aluminium sculptures placed along the bastion in that section of the Forte that faces Florence. 
This exhibition ends on October 8, so hurry up and don’t miss it!


4. Sheltered Landscapes by zancan (Rifugio Digitale) 

Can nature be represented through an algorithm? Contemporary artist zancan has found a way to do it, and it is displayed at Rifugio Digitale in Florence. The artworks from Sheltered Landscapes are stylistically balanced between ancient watercolours and modern graphic design, creating a continuous visual cycle from screen to screen.
Representing a natural panorama but created through coding, zancan’s work is waiting to be uncovered in the unexpected setting of Rifugio Digitale.

5. Rooms with a View. Aby Warburg, Florence and the Laboratory of Images (Uffizi Galleries)

Every art student has come across the work of Aby Warburg in one way or another. Even after decades, his anthropological studies, such as the Ritual of the Serpent and the incomplete last work Mnemosyne Atlas continue to fascinate generations of art lovers. 
Aby Warburg had a great love for Florence, which is evident in his thesis on Botticelli, and this exhibition at the Uffizi Galleries seems like a tribute to the city by an intellectual who loved its art more than anyone else. 
If you’re planning to visit the Uffizi Galleries for the Aby Warburg exhibition, you may also want to take a look at the new setting of the 8 rooms dedicated to 17th-century paintings and masterpieces from Caravaggio. Stendhal syndrome guaranteed. 

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