British sculptor-surgeon’s art sat alongside priceless Italian Renaissance Fresco
Nadey Hakim a British-Lebanese transplant surgeon, author and sculptor and surgeon of thirty years has carried out more than 2,000 transplants and was part of the team that performed the world’s first hand transplant in France.
Mr Hakim has welcomed at the event to dedicate his work to the museum by his long-standing friend Maurizio Bragagni, Chairman of Esharelife, a new organisation dedicated to helping those in need through support for the arts.
The artistic talents of Mr Hakim first hit the headlines when his bronze of David Cameron came face to face with (the then) PM himself. The bust of the premier was unveiled at the Carlton Club in London two years ago. The sculpture was sold at auction to a British-Ukrainian businessman for £90,000. The money was subsequently donated to the Carlton Club by Mr Hakim, who is winner of the Medical Art Society Baron’s Prize 2016.
Dr Bragagni, who is also CEO of cable technology company Tratos Ltd in the UK, said: “I am so pleased to join my friend Nadey to inaugurate his bust of Michelangelo’s David at Monterchi. It is a double pleasure: firstly, because this is in my native valley, secondly because I will be in the presence of a great artist, but also a great friend.”
The Anglo-Italian businessman, whose fascination with advanced technology has seen the 50-year-old family-owned company he heads grow exponentially in the last decade, is just as passionate about art.
His organisation esharelife promotes the sale of rising artists’ works, with a proportion of the sale price going to help a range of humanitarian causes.
Both men have another shared passion, both have taken Britain to their hearts.
Said Dr Bragagni: “Sometimes we are the creators, other times we are only observers as something beautiful happens around us. I want to see a positive result from loving art — something that produces a result for the people who need it most.”
Dr Bragagni met Nadey Hakim in their adopted home-city of London. The conversation turned to a discussion of Dr Bragagni’s Italian home town and Caprese Michelangelo, the great Renaissance artist.
“Nadey immediately responded that he was reproducing a same-scale bust of Michelangelo’s David. I invited Nadey to visit Tiber Valley and was delighted when he accepted,” said Dr Bragagni.
“During his visit, which included a trip to see the original David, Nadey was shown around the Valley and introduced to Silvia Mencaroni, assessor of Monterchi.
“As the conversation developed, something extraordinary happened. Nadey offered his work, the recently completed bust of David, to the Museum and Silvia accepted.
“Thanks to serendipity and the generosity of Nadey one of the best pieces of modern art has been held in the Museum of Madonna del Parto of Monterchi.
“I am proud of Silvia Mencaroni and Matteo Canicchi, the guide who introduced Nadey to the museum. Their foresight helped bring about this great result for the museum and for Italy. We are extremely grateful to Nadey for his donation.”
The donation of this extraordinary artwork to the Monterchi Museum came about through friendship and a chain of chance encounters.
Nadey Hakim had spent time in Florence, ADA (Florence Academy of Art) intent on the realization of a work: the bust of Michelangelo’s David.
From the outset the surgeon-sculptor showed a keen interest in Dr Bragagni’s home town. Mr Hakim had visited the Tiber Valley in previous trips but had not yet explored Monterchi, a town world-famous for one of the most important frescoes of the Renaissance: The Madonna del Parto by Piero della Francesca.
In conversation about Michelangelo’s David — and Madonna del Parto (the pregnant Madonna) by Piero della Francesca — both men explored the history of the fresco and the town of Monterchi. For centuries the fresco’s Madonna has been defended and saved by the local people from wars, earthquakes, tampering and possible ruin through neglect. Through it all she has remained in her homeland while other masterpieces were sold.
Piero della Francesca was forgotten for centuries as other great works of the time were displayed and admired. Dr Bragagni says it is thanks to the fundamental discovery by early twentieth century art lovers Roger Fry, Duncan Grant and the Bloomsbury Group that another great work from “the monarch of painting” (as defined by Luca Pacioli) stepped into the light.
And the British have had a significant role in protecting the fresco.
Tony Clarke, the English captain stationed in Italy during WWII, is acknowledged by the nation’s art-lovers as a hero not only for his military service, but as a staunch protector of culture and art. During the Second World War, he defied a court martial by refusing to comply with orders to bomb Sansepolcro.
The officer, an educated man with a love of beauty, culture and art remembered reading that the town, was home to the Resurrection, described as “the best painting in the world.”
The bust of Michelangelo’s David has been installed in Monterchi in the Gardens of the Civic Museums Madonna del Parto. It is a sign that current events do not tarnish shared investment in and appreciation of art across Europe and the UK.