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Framed
May 22, 2014

Door To The World

Florence’s most famous door, Lorenzo Ghiberti’s The Gates of Paradise, is on show in Mumbai at an exhibition that explores the artistic synergy between the two cities

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The similarity between 19th century mercantile Bombay and 14th and 15th century Florence has often been noticed and commented on. This was due to the fact that both the cities went through a great deal of expansion that entailed the development of massive structures of art – these ranged from doors and relief works on tower walls to massive cathedrals and domes.

Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum is hosting the exhibition The Florentine Renaissance: The City as the Crucible of Culture – co-curated by Dr. Gerhard Wolf and Dr. Timothy Verdon and advised by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta. It offers visitors a rare experience of the civic values that give birth to the Florentine Renaissance – values that carry significant implications for the development of urban culture in a rapidly urbanising India. This showing of the most acclaimed masterpieces of the Florentine Renaissance has been facilitated by a special collaboration with the Guild of the Dome Association, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institute, and the Museum of the Opera del Duomo.

Lovers of history and culture will recall that the Florentine Renaissance, through its celebration of humanist philosophy, artistic patronage, technical and organisational mastery, and wealth, significantly contributed to the artistic and economic transformation of the city during the 15th and the 16th centuries. Reportedly, the most eye-catching of the exhibits is Lorenzo Ghiberti’s The Gates of Paradise. For the first time in India, the full-scale replica, cast from the original mould while the original was being restored, is on display. This will enable visitors to experience Ghiberti’s sculptural rendering at close quarters. Named The Gates of Paradise by the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo, it recalls the impact of works of art and architecture on civilisation.

On show also are a collection of historical and contemporary photographs that document Florence. Displayed in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Special Exhibitions Gallery, the photographs are courtesy a loan from the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institute. These give visitors a chance to visualise the urban and public spaces that served as a stage for the expression of a dynamic and diverse Florentine culture.

The Florentine Renaissance: The City as the Crucible of Culture is on till June 3, 2014 at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. For more information, visit www.bdlmuseum.org

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