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Photographer Massimo's homage to Dante arrives in Florence Sestini. In the former refectory of the monumental complex of Santa Maria Novella opened today the photographic exhibition “Dante 700 - A portrait of Dante and the places of the Poet in Massimo's photographs Sestini", organized byMUS.E Association and promoted by the City of Florence and by Florentine Civic Museums, with the support of Ministry of Heritage, Cultural Activities and Tourism, And Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The exhibition was previewed in Rome, in the rooms of the Quirinale, where it remained until 11 October, kicking off the celebrations of the seventh centenary of the death of the Supreme Poet. And today it finally reveals itself to the city that gave birth to Alighieri, to stay open to the public until January 6, 2021.

Made with the artistic advice of Sergio Risaliti, art critic, curator, writer and director of the Museo Novecento in Florence, and with the scientific advice of Domenico De Martino, professor at the University of Pavia and director of the Dante 2021 festival in Ravenna, “Dante 700” is an exciting journey - through 23 special shots - in search of the legacy that the author of Divine Comedy he passed away. His words, the lyrical, political and emotional world, even his unequivocal profile have always been part of our cultural and expressive DNA. Traces and subtracks of the Supreme Poet are well present in the contemporary world, in everyone's imagination as in everyday life, in places of culture as in the streets of our cities.

Massimo Sestini, an internationally renowned photojournalist, follows this common thread and analyzes it with a new look and with experimental and unconventional photographic techniques. From Florence to Ravenna, where Dante's remains are kept, passing through the source of the Arno on Monte Falterona. But also Venice, Rome, Verona and Poppi, to discover - as in a real reportage - how much the face and the echo of the Poet continue to accompany our lives.

"This is a precious contribution to the Dante celebrations that the Municipality of Florence, the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation have worked on, with the decisive encouragement of the Quirinale" - underlines Elisabetta Belloni, general secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. "We are pleased to bring the exhibition to the main European capitals, where it will be hosted by the Italian Cultural Institutes with the aim of making Dante's story known and the topicality and universality of his thought".

"From the Quirinal Palace - declares the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella - we welcome this exhibition dedicated to the figure of the Supreme Poet in the Santa Maria Novella complex. It is in this place that the anniversary will have its climax as the Museum of the Italian Language will be born there. From here, therefore, we ideally open a year of celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Dante's death and we hope that this exhibition can take him to other cities in Italy and also abroad, as a powerful vehicle of a message that speaks to everyone and in the which everyone can recognize themselves ".

"Maximum Sestini has accustomed us to images of shocking beauty, photography that becomes art, the eye always ready to experiment with new angles and means of shooting - underlines Tommaso Sacchi, Councilor for Culture - we are pleased that this innovative exhibition for the technology used by the artist but above all for the unprecedented look at the Poet and his legacy can take place in the birthplace of the Poet. The photographs of Sestini after their debut in front of President Sergio Mattarella they arrive in Florence and will further enhance the majestic spaces of Santa Maria Novella, the ideal venue for exhibitions and cultural initiatives aimed at a rebirth of the city and renewed confidence after the pandemic ».

«After the prestigious stage of the Quirinale where the exhibition was presented to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, the project arrives in Florence. With great satisfaction MUS.E replied immediately when it was proposed to organize "Dante 700". An exhibition that recalls the seven hundred years since the death of the Supreme Poet through the thousand emotions that Massimo's photographs arouse Sestini, who was able to return the emotion he felt with unprecedented cuts as we did in face to face with the effigy of the Poet, discovering the places of the Comedy on the banks of the Arno or on the Falterona, in Poppi, Ravenna and Venice " declares Matteo Spanò, president of MUS.E.

Massimo's 23 photographs Sestini_ The look of Sestini, always projected to the future, exciting and never banal, it avoids the postcard effect also through the use of innovative tools. With a telescopic rod, surmounted by a very light camera, Sestini literally brings the visitor up to the height of statue of Dante in a Piazza Santa Croce, in Florence, emptied by Covid. With a drone, on the other hand, he photographs the artist Enrico Mazzone intent on creating the 97 meter long work, Divine Comedy, inside the Covered Market of Ravenna.

It's still, immersed in the Venetian lagoon, with mask, fins and snorkel, the photojournalist challenges the vaporetti to immortalize "Dante's boat", a bronze work by Georgian sculptor Georgy Frangulyan.

Among the highlights of the exhibition, two other photos that give an absolutely new look.

The first, an incredible image of the Judgement by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari who decorates the dome of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. The photo, which offers - for the first time - a view of the fresco from top to bottom, was made thanks to a radio-controlled camera lowered with a fishing line from the top of the cathedral's lantern, 85 meters high.

The second, a symbolic image of Florence which - seen from above - becomes a planet: Sestini he made it by projecting a spherical imaging camera attached to an eight meter long pole from a helicopter.

There is no shortage of shots taken from the news, including high school students grappling with Dante's triplets and street art works that creatively celebrate the great genius of literature.

For the Florentine stage, the photographic exhibition is enriched with three special images, which restore the dimension of the relationship between Dante and Florence. There is the photo that portrays the tour guide Riccardo Starnotti during one of his spectacular tours to discover Dante's places: dressed in the role of Dante, declaims the Divine Comedy from Piazzale Michelangelo. There is Dario Cecchini, the butcher of Panzano in Chianti, with a “carnivorous” version of Dante's poem. And finally, there is the photo in which the statue of Dante in Piazza Santa Croce is reflected in a pool of water: a symbolic and evocative vision, which brings the Poet together and brings us back.

The wooden portal designed by Botticelli_ The 23 shots are accompanied by a Renaissance masterpiece: a wooden portal, from the Museum of Palazzo Vecchio, made in 1480 by Giuliano da Maiano and Francesco di Giovanni known as il Francione, based on a design by Sandro Botticelli. The inlays portray Dante in full figure. It is a precious work, both for its artistic value and for the interpretation of the figure of the Poet that is proposed.

The exhibition in Santa Maria Novella_ The former refectory of Santa Maria Novella is a special place, a single large space, divided longitudinally into 15 bays and transversely into three, with the ceiling covered with cross vaults. In this context, Massimo's photographic exhibition Sestini it becomes a real installation, perfectly integrated with the architectural elements. The works of Sestini, in format 250 by 166 centimeters, were printed on a backlit backlit fabric, which wraps the columns in such a way as to create three “boxes” two and a half meters high. Inside, halogen headlights focus on the images, amplifying their visual impact.

«The bond between Florence and the Supreme Poet is strong, absolute, for better or for worse. Dante's love for his homeland is equal to his despondency as an exile. Dante is Florence and its aura illuminates every corner of the city with splendor and from these streets and squares it spreads throughout the world  - explains Sergio Risaliti, artistic consultant of "Dante 700". "But Dante is not only a spiritual and cultural heritage, he is our language of Florentines and Italians, immense poetry that is reborn every day among the words of the people, among the school desks, in the university classrooms, in those of his admirers and emulate. Dante and his comedy are therefore living art and public art that are regenerated when his text circulates and accompanies each of us in our daily lives. Who does not know the "dark forest", who does not remember the warning "you were not made to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge", who has not come out to see the stars again one evening of summer remembering the lines of the Divine Comedy ? "

«In 2021 we will all celebrate Dante. The intensity with which we are preparing for the centenary - explains the scientific consultant of the exhibition, Domenico De Martino - it derives from the fact that Dante actually and daily pervades our lives. We use words that were born or have established themselves with him. We use expressions taken from his works. Above all, we ask ourselves the same questions that Dante asked himself. In short, we are all Dante's heirs. Massimo's photos Sestini they are the visual representation of this concept. Also thanks to his talent, Dante continues to talk to us and to accompany us, through contemporaneity, towards the future ».

"This exhibition - Massimo says Sestini - was born from an intuition of the mayor of Florence Dario Nardella, a passionate lover of Dante. The challenge for me was to understand right away how I could unleash emotions by photographing places where Dante lived, where he is remembered, where he is supposed to have passed and immortalizing woods, sources and buildings mentioned in the Comedy. I wanted to create a reportage that would tell the presence of the Poet in our days. I have portrayed truth and counterfeiting, inferences and suppositions, everything that in practice contributes to creating and keeping alive his myth in Florence - my city - and then in the places where he wandered, exiled and fought ».

Enel is the official sponsor of "Dante 700". Enel has always been committed to enhancing the energy that springs from the spark of culture, art and poetry; values ​​that have their roots in the history of a large Italian company that has contributed to the development of the country to become today one of the global leaders in the energy transition. Dante's greatness makes him a timeless, eternal Poet, capable of stitching past, present and future and of giving hope to humanity even and above all in a difficult time like the one we are experiencing. For this Enel supports the "Dante 700" exhibition, in the name of a vocation to the constant search for beauty, innovation and sustainability that are able to create long-term shared value for the communities and for the generations of tomorrow.

In January 2021 "Dante 700" it will be hosted in the main foreign capitals, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and with the Italian Cultural Institutes.

Complete the exhibition the photo book "Dante 700", edited by Massimo Sestini and published by Centro Di (International Documentation Center on the Arts), which collects the entire work of the photojournalist dedicated to the Poet in over 40 shots.

Info

"Dante 700" will remain open to the public from 29 October 2020 to 6 January 2021.

Hours: until November 30, from Thursday to Monday from 11:00 to 17:00; Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00. From 1 December, from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00; Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00. Last admission 16:00. Booking is recommended.

The ticket is included in the route of the Santa Maria Novella Complex. Full 7,50 euros; reduced 5 euro (11-18 years); free for children under 11 and for residents of the Municipality of Florence.
Access every 15 minutes. The visit is one-way, as required by the anti-Covid19 provisions.