Lorenzo Lotto in Private Collection

Lorenzo Lotto in private collection

For the 50th anniversary of Florence’s flood in 1966, the Galleria Frascione Arte will host an exhibition of some of the artworks damaged in the disaster, including the Lorenzo Lotto (1448 – 1556) masterpiece An Angel Appearing to Saint Roch. The work, which can be seen pre-flood in the Catalog of the Fondazione Zeri, has a modest, but significant bibliography. Of note is Giuseppe Fiocco (Pordenone ignoto, in “Bollettino d’Arte”, 15, 1921, pp. 193-210) who, in a debate over the “Pordenone frainteso,” attributes the painting with certainty to the Venetian Renaissance master Lorenzo Lotto.

“….the contorted forms of the pilgrim saint and the angel, almost broken by flight’s momentum….the pristine colouring, the precision of the landscape and human forms….the richness of the fluttering clothes, that define the fronds leaf by leaf, the branches of the bush limb by limb….they are the style of an improved Antonellian like Lotto….”

The painting comes from Palazzo dei Principi Giovannelli in Venice, arriving in Florence after the Second World War. It entered into the private collection of the Frascione family and was kept at the lower level of the palace not far from Piazza della Repubblica. The move saved it from any potential damage it could have suffered in the lagoons of Venice, only to find itself hit by the flood of November 4th, 1966. Alterations brought on by the water can still be seen today.

The Renaissance art pieces will be displayed side-by-side with contemporary art works, including LibriBianchi (White Books) by Lorenzo Perrone, which remembers the hundreds of thousands of damaged books, true heritage of mankind, restored either entirely or in part thanks to patient conservators, not to mention the innumerable volumes officially lost.

Some of the damaged books recuperated by Perrone were brought “back to life” to become artwork: The Mud Angels. This is a homage to the generous efforts of the volunteers that came from all parts of the world to help Florence in the days after the flood.