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Plautilla Nelli: a new Renaissance for women artists
Rescuing Nelli's masterpiece… online
A self-taught artist and Renaissance woman in every way, Nelli tackled large-scale commissions despite social conventions of her era. One of the few women featured in Giorgio Vasari's Lives of Artists, Nelli was also an entrepreneur whose art graced the homes of Florentine nobles. She trained other women painters in her self-sufficient convent-bottega and is 'the artistic heir' of Fra' Bartolomeo of the San Marco School, whose 500 drawings she inherited. Her works are present in Florentine collections including San Marco Museum, San Salvi and Palazzo Vecchio. The time has come to salvage and rediscover her legacy.
The Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA) will restore Nelli's masterwork to its original dignity with the help of the art-loving public through an international crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo platform. The goal of #TheFirstLast is to raise $65,000 in 46 days from March 1 to April 16, 2017. The painting, whose restoration is scheduled for completion in April 2018, will be permanently displayed at the Santa Maria Novella Museum, destined to become the city's next internationally-acclaimed venue thanks to a far-reaching renovation project that is currently in the works, spearheaded by Florence's mayor, Dario Nardella.
Nelli's Uffizi debut
The rediscovery and restoration of Plautilla Nelli's entire oeuvre is being led by the Florence-based American non-profit, and by AWA's founder, author and philanthropist Jane Fortune, who has spent the past decade researching, restoring and exhibiting forgotten treasures by historic women artists. Since 2007, AWA has rediscovered over 2,000 artworks by women in Florence's museums, many of which are languishing in storage and in dire need of restoration. AWA has restored 21 works by Nelli, in addition to 21 other artworks from the 16th to the 20th centuries by artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Violante Siries and Elisabeth Chaplin for the likes of the Pitti Palace, Santa Croce and the Academia Gallery. "Few people know that Florence has been a powerhouse for art by women for more than five centuries," Fortune explains. "Nelli was an artist who succeeded against all odds. She is the prime inspiration behind our mission: to give historic women artist a voice in history."
How salvaging the Last Supper is changing the lives of art lovers
Florence mayor Dario Nardella affirms: "Nelli is an example of female creativity, but as with many other women, her work has not had a voice [in history]. As Mayor of the City of Florence, I invite you to support the AWA Foundation's initiative, because all that you do to restore this Last Supper by Plautilla Nelli will be extremely important, not only for our city, but for the whole world—and for all of you personally."
The Crowdfunding Campaign
Information and images provided by the Advancing Women Artists Foundation, Italy
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