Text by Fiammetta Cesana

Tomorrow, the 4th of July, which is probably the most beloved festivity in USA, marks the 244th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. On this particular occasion, the Uffizi Gallery invites us to its latest online project “Black Presence” (the Gallery has already claimed its virtual presence through the newest social channels, including the very popular platform, among the youngest and not only, Tik Tok) deciding to discuss the history of art – and its colours – in relation to the fulcrum of current social and political debate globally. Live on Tik Tok and Facebook, the museum will display a series of nine paintings with black people as main subjects, including the IV century portrait of the King of Abyssinia and Ethiopia commissioned by Cosimo de’ Medici to Cristofano dell’Altissimo, Albrecht Dürer’s opera “Adoration of the Magi” dated 1504 ca., and the 1630s “Madonna Domenica delle Cascine, Cecca di Pratolino and Pietro Moro” by the Flemish Justus Suttermans.

Blacks Matter in Art Too_Uffizi Gallery_Black Presence_live project_Tik Tok_Facebook_exhibition_performance_King of Abyssinia and Ethiopia by Cristofano dell'Altissimo

Bringing these works back to the light and to the popular knowledge, thanks to the super power of diffusion of the two social media, the project makes us question values and choices of the artistic institutions. Precisely on a crucial date for the history of the Western world, artworks that perhaps we’d never have discovered because marginalized in the dominant taste of art, will be within everyone’s reach and at the center of new ideological challenges to cope with. Have we ever wondered if Botticelli’s Venus would have reached the top in planetary iconography if it had had a darker complexion…?

Blacks Matter in Art Too_Uffizi Gallery_Black Presence_live project_Tik Tok_Facebook_exhibition_performance_"Adoration of the Magi" by Albrecht Dürer

“The Uffizi are not an turris eburnea (ivory tower) of art and indeed in their collections they include the great themes of contemporary life: through art the museum can tell the great story of the past and bring works to life in the present. In fact, the masterpieces speak a universal language that helps not only to better understand their time, but also the future we intend to build”, the director Eike Schmidt said.

Blacks Matter in Art Too_Uffizi Gallery_Black Presence_live project_Tik Tok_Facebook_exhibition_performance_"Madonna Domenica delle Cascine, Cecca di Pratolino and Pietro Moro" by Justus Suttermans

The “Black Presence” journey between the operas starts tomorrow at 8pm on Tik Tok with Justin Randolph Thompson, director and co-founder of the Black History Month Florence, the city’s annual festival dedicated to black culture. And from 9pm on Facebook, in front of Piero di Cosimo’s opera “Perseo Rescuing Andromeda” of 1510s, the Burkina Faso Gabin Dabirè performs in a concert with traditional African instruments (exibart.com).