Mindful Hands

Friday 16th September has seen the official opening of “Mindful Hands. Masterpieces of Illumination from the Fondazione Giorgio Cini”, a large exhibition staged on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. Mindful Hands features 120 illuminated pages and initials — as well as a group of particularly fine illuminated manuscripts — from the most important collections of miniatures worldwide, which were acquired by Count Vittorio Cini from the Libreria Antiquaria Hoepli in Milan in the years 1939–1940. Produced by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in collaboration with Studio Michele De Lucchi and Factum Arte, the exhibition has been organised with the support of the Helen Hamlyn Trust and the contribution of Pirelli. This is a very rare occasion, since the pieces in the exhibition haven’t been on display for over 35 years.

The academic curators of the project are Federica Toniolo, a lecturer in the History of Illuminated Manuscripts at the University of Padua, Massimo Medica, director of the Museo Civico Medievale, Bologna, and Alessandro Martoni, Fondazione Cini Institute of Art History, who were also responsible for cataloguing the entire collection.

“The collection is unique in Italy and among the few of such high quality in the world.” Pasquale Gagliardi, Secretary General of the Fondazione Cini, stated in a press release.

In the section of the exhibition designed by Studio Michele De Lucchi, there is a wonderful connection with architecture that will definitely pique the interest of non-specialist visitors, too. Here, multimedia installations and reproductions have been created by Adam Lowe’s Factum Arte. Digital media organised in a thoroughgoing art installation highlight and “translate” this extraordinary heritage in a modern key.

Even fashionistas have reasons to plan a visit to this exhibition: the history of art features versatile artists who have produced tapestry pieces, embroideries and illuminated manuscripts. Thinking about more recent connections, Mary Katrantzou’s Resort 2015 designs featured see-through pieces covered in embroidered, jacquarded or embossed calligraphy and fonts, inspired by a lot of graphic ideas including illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells.

Originally published at thebeautifulthinking.wordpress.com on September 21, 2016.