The photographic shots of the famous Gerald Bruneau in an exhibition to tell the women who lead the primary cultural institutions of our country
“Ritratte” is the exhibition, conceived and created by Fondazione Bracco, Palazzo Reale dedicates to the women who guide many important cultural institutions in Italy: the Venice Musei Civici, the Galleria Borghese in Rome, the Royal Museums in Turin, the National Art Gallery in Bologna, the Florence Gallerie dell’Accademia…
The strength and personality of each of the directors, all portrayed in their own museum, emerges clearly from Gerald Bruneau’s beautiful shots. Annalisa Zanni, director of the Poldi Pozzoli Museum in Milan, depicted in her museum’s armory, tells us:
Photographer Gerald Bruneau was extremely good at interpreting us; I truly recognise myself in this image of a warrior, a determined fighter, because my life has always been inside the museum, and it has much changed
The photographs are accompanied by captions following a format: after a brief curriculum vitae, the same four questions are posed to all the women: what drove them to this career, what the “trump cards” are to be a woman in the world of Italy’s cultural heritage, what said cultural heritage means to them, and finally what their favourite motto or quote is. Many answered in Latin.
The replies, quite varied, invite the visitor to look back to the pictures, which often play on the image of the director and one of the artworks in their museum, like the case of the portrait of Evelina De Castro, director of the Palazzo Abatellis Galleria Regionale della Sicilia, in Palermo, Sicily, whose eyes seem to respond to those of Antonello da Messina’s Virgin Annunciate behind her.
Director Annalisa Zanni, talking about her career at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, tells us:
The beautiful thing about this long experience is that, astonishingly, every time I enter the museum rooms, I find something new, even after forty years. This means that both our eye and ourselves change over the course of time, and we can perceive specific details, and this indicates the wealth of contents in art
Addressing the theme of ever increasing inclusivity of a variety of publics in the museum, which opens its doors to children, as well as different needs like those of deaf people, Zanni mentions the special courses for restorative justice in collaboration with the municipality of Milan, and says
I find this immersion in contemporaneity very good, because it welcomes all publics. Before, it was academics talking amongst themselves, but since twenty years ago museums have walked out of their rooms to meet people and use different languages, to interact…
She concludes our brief interview by saying:
Today, the museum must keep its identity and its uniqueness, but it must be a laboratory of History, welcoming, joyful. Each person who enters the museum changes it, enriches it, there is a mutual exchange, art belongs to everybody, and who works in museums must do so to deliver art back to the public with enriched knowledge