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Giulia Napoleone

Florence, Department of Prints and Drawings, Uffizi Gallery

3 November 2010 - 9 January 2011

opening on tuesday 2 November 2010 at 5.00 pm - Sala Edoardo Detti

Free entry with the ticket for the Uffizi Gallery
Uffizi Gallery opening times, from Tuesday to Sunday, 8.15 am – 6.30 pm

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The presentation of a “selection” from the body of one hundred and two graphic works by Giulia Napoleone, donated to the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, has been curated by Marzia Faietti, Giorgio Marini and Ilaria Rossi and is accompanied by a folder published by Edizioni Polistampa, with text by Ilaria Rossi. This is the fifth appointment initiated by the institute expressly dedicated to the collection and study of drawings and prints. In an increasingly busy calendar of events, it is the institute’s goal to display the results of its attentive policy to augment its collections.

Both thanks to the steady methodological nature of her artistic work – reflecting her rigorous temperament and persistently personal hallmark - and to the central role played by teaching in her research, Giulia Napoleone is without doubt one of the main figures of reference for what is happening in the field of engraving in Italy today. The attention paid to her by the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe also indirectly concerns the activities of Galleria Il Ponte, whose founder Vincenzo Alibrandi – a copperplate printer – organised two solo exhibitions of Giulia Napoleone’s work in his gallery (1996 and 2002), in recognition of the artist’s importance both in the smaller sphere of printing and in paper work and painting.

The donation to Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi includes punch engravings, etchings, aquatints, mezzotints, dry-points, woodcuts and prints which cover a time span from 1963 to 2003 and together they document the different stages in the development of the artist’s engraving work. Characterised by steely self-discipline that has guided her over the years towards impeccable methods of expression, she has never taken a gestural approach to marks. Instead, she pays minute and meticulous attention to every single aspect, her way of working distilled in every detail.
Every since her works from the early 1960s, where the depiction often comes about from a reference to nature in which organic forms transform into engraved marks (Foglie, 1963), her analytical search for a specific graphical language has concentrated on thinning out or, on the contrary, thickening the strokes.
Her subsequent, single-minded work proceeds by putting together a measured set of elements. She studies the structural possibilities of circles in works such as Strutturazione I or Ricerca di luce; or she evokes nature in her “germinations”, Germina and Germina I, swelling convexities of organic life; and then we get the teeming galaxies of her “starry skies”. Nevertheless, Giulia Napoleone is always interested in researching and testing out the problems of organising surfaces; the resulting works underline her interest in space and the light acts as a dynamic element, elastically dilating the field of vision with intense lyricism.
Among the prints donated there are also some mezzotints, a technique which the artist began to diligently devote herself to in 1977, using which she created images featuring velvety blacks (Ombre, 1989) and rays and flashes of iridescent light. Also presented are engravings that stem from the world of literature and poetry, such as the Il fenomeno futuro (1981) tablets taken from a text by Mallarmé and translated by Marinetti, or Rimanenze (seven mezzotints from 2001) inspired by the poems of Camillo Sbarbaro. Ms Napoleone has often worked with literary friends and poets to create, with and for them, engravings, tablets and texts of refined literary and visual poetry such as Sopravvivenza del bianco (1994/1997), Notte chiara (2001) and Il sonno del maggiore (2003).

Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities
Special Superintendency for the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage and for the Museums of Florence  
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi – New arrivals

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