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On Being Present II
Recovering Blackness in the Uffizi Galleries

The images and writing connected to this second edition of On Being Present are the
fruit of a two year collaboration with the Gellerie degli Uffizi are anchored within the very history for which the city of Florence is most known, yet the figures that they address are considered marginal to this history when they are considered at all. When we reflect upon the space of the museum as a site for research and advocacy we understand the urgency in shedding light on a range of presences, which have always been in plain sight but have struggled amid the evacuating of art historical canons and the academic framing of speculation.

The hiperVision is part of the Black History Month Florence program 2021

On Being Present II
La figura africana nelle collezioni delle Gallerie degli Uffizi

Le immagini e i testi di questa seconda edizione di On Being Present sono il frutto di una collaborazione di due anni con le Gallerie degli Uffizi e trovano la loro ragion d’essere proprio nella storia per cui la città di Firenze è massimamente nota, per quanto, rispetto a questa storia, le figure passate in rassegna vengano considerate marginali, quando non siano del tutto ignorate.
Se si parla di spazio museale come luogo di ricerca e attivismo, è ben comprensibile l’urgenza di far luce su tutta una serie di “presenze”, che sono sempre state sotto gli occhi di tutti ma che hanno lottato per emergere tra l’evacuazione dei canoni storico-artistici e l’ambito della speculazione accademica.

L'iperVisione si inserisce nell'ambito della rassegna Black History Month Florence 2021

Scholarly contributors/ Contributori Accademici:
1_Paul Kaplan_ Professor of Art History at Purchase College, SUNY
2_Kate Lowe_ Professor of Renaissance History and Culture at Queen Mary University of London
3_Jonathan K. Nelson_ Associate Professor at Syracuse University Florence
4_Adrienne Childs_ Independent scholar, art historian and curator
5_Emanuele Lugli_ Assistant Professor at ?Stanford University
6_Mahnaz Yousefzadeh_ Professor of Global Liberal Studies. Affiliate Professor of Italian at New York University, and Affiliate Professor of Art History at NYU Abu Dhabi
Joneath Spicer_ Curator of Renaissance and Baroque Art at Walters Art Museum
8_Stephanie Archangel_ Junior Conservator Geschiedenis at Rijksmuseum

The project has been carried out and curated by Justin Randolph Thompson, in collaboration with the Uffizi Galleries
Scientific coordination at Uffizi Galleries: Chiara Toti, Francesca Sborgi
Advisors: Paul Kaplan, Kate Lowe
Texts by: Justin Randolph Thompson; Paul Kaplan; Kate Lowe; Jonathan K. Nelson; Adrienne Childs; Emanuele Lugli; Mahnaz Yousefzadeh; Joneath Spicer; Stephanie Archangel
Web editing: Andrea Biotti, Department of Digital Strategies, Uffizi Galleries
Editing: Patrizia Naldini, Chiara Ulivi, Department of Digital Strategies, Uffizi Galleries
Graphics: Jacopo Mazzoni, Black History Month Florence
Translations: Eurotrad snc.
Photos: Francesco del Vecchio e Roberto Palermo
Please note: each image in this virtual tour may be enlarged for more detailed viewing.

Progetto ideato e curato da Justin Randolph Thompson in collaborazione con le Gallerie degli Uffizi
Coordinamento scientifico e organizzativo per le Gallerie degli Uffizi: Chiara Toti, Francesca Sborgi
Consiglieri: Paul Kaplan, Kate Lowe
Testi: Justin Randolph Thompson; Paul Kaplan; Kate Lowe; Jonathan K. Nelson; Adrienne Childs; Emanuele Lugli; Mahnaz Yousefzadeh; Joneath Spicer; Stephanie Archangel
Editing web: Andrea Biotti (Dipartimento di Informatica e Strategie Digitali, Gallerie degli Uffizi)
Editing dei testi: Patrizia Naldini, Chiara Ulivi (Dipartimento di Informatica e Strategie Digitali, Gallerie degli Uffizi)
Elaborazione grafica immagini: Jacopo Mazzoni (Black History Month Florence)
Traduzioni: Eurotrad snc.
Crediti fotografici Francesco del Vecchio e Roberto Palermo
Nota: Ogni immagine della mostra virtuale può essere ingrandita per una visione più dettagliata.

Biographies of the Scholars:
Paul Kaplan is Professor of Art History at Purchase College, SUNY. He is the author of The Rise of the Black Magus in Western Art (1985) and of numerous essays on European images of black Africans. He was Project Scholar for the artist Fred Wilson’s “Speak of Me as I Am,” an installation at the 2003 Venice Biennale. He has been a fellow of the Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, and is a major contributor to volumes 2, 3 and 4 of the new edition of The Image of the Black in Western Art.

Kate Lowe is Professor of Renaissance History and Culture at Queen Mary University of London. She has written monographs on an Italian Renaissance cardinal and on history writing by Italian nuns, and has edited a volume (amongst others) with T. F. Earle, Black Africans in Renaissance Europe (2005). A book with Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, The Global City: On the Streets of Renaissance Lisbon (2015) was the basis for a major exhibition at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon in 2017. She edited the I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History monograph series between 2012-2019. Her current project is ‘An unsettling presence: Sub-Saharan Africa in Renaissance Italy’.

Jonathan K. Nelson is a Teaching Professor at Syracuse University Florence and a Research Associate at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2004 he co-authored a major monograph on Filippino Lippi, and co-curated a Botticelli and Filippino exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; he is currently working on a new monograph of Filippino. He co-curated two exhibitions at the Galleria dell’Accademia, dedicated to Michelangelo (2002) and Robert Mapplethorpe (2009). When he was Assistant Director of Academic Programs at Villa I Tatti, he curated two exhibitions on their website about Bernard Berenson (2012, 2015). Other books include Leonardo e la reinvenzione della figura femminile, (2007) and, with Richard J. Zeckhauser, The Patron’s Payoff: Economic Frameworks for Conspicuous Commissions in Renaissance Italy (2008).

Adrienne L. Childs is an independent scholar, art historian and curator. She is an associate of the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Her current book is an exploration of blacks in European decorative arts entitled Ornamental Blackness: The Black Body in European Decorative Arts, under contract with Yale University Press. She was the guest curator of Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition at The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, 2020. Childs was recently co-editor of Riff: African American Artists and the European Canon, a special section of Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art.

Emanuele Lugli is Assistant Professor at Stanford University where teaches and writes about late medieval and early modern art, with a particular emphasis on Italian painting, trade, urban culture, and the history of fashion. His theoretical concerns include questions of scale and labor, the history of measurements and technology, conceptualizations of precision, vagueness, smallness, and the reach of intellectual networks. Emanuele has written two monographs. Unità di Misura: Breve Storia del Metro in Italia (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2014) and The Making of Measure and the Promise of Sameness (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019). A third book, a study of hair and the corporeal minuscule in founding notions of vitality, beauty, and desire in Renaissance Florence, is underway. Emanuele has also edited with Professor Joan J. Kee (University of Michigan) a collection of essays on the roles of size in artmaking titled To Scale (Hoboken, Wiley-Blackwell: 2015).

Mahnaz Yousefzadeh is Professor of Global Liberal Studies. Affiliate Professor of Italian at New York University, and Affiliate Professor of Art History at NYU Abu Dhabi. She is the author of City and Nation in Italian Unification: National Festivals of Dante Alighieri (Palgrave, 2011), Florence's Embassy to the Sultan of Egypt (Palgrave, 2018), and several interdisciplinary studies on Medici Grand Dukes' relations to Persia, including, "Burrato of the Bargello" (ReSignifications, 2017), "Shafi al Sharif's Suhbat al Akhbar in the Medici Collection: Visualizing Genealogy in the Medici and the Persico-Islamic courts" (I Tatti Studies, 2018), "Sea of Oman: Ferdinand I, G.B. Vecchietti and the Armour of Shah Abbas of Persia" (Rivista degli Studi Orientali, 2018), and "Tobit and Persian Jewry: Exile and Writing in Florence and Persianate Worlds" (September 2021)

Joaneath Spicer(Yale U. PhD), James A. Murnaghan Curator of Renaissance and Baroque Art, Walters Art Museum. (previously Assistant Professor, University of Toronto). While her publications and research interests address wide-ranging themes in early modern European art, including the European Chamber of Wonders, in the last decade, one of the dominant areas has involved the investigation of the role of art in teasing out the lives and societal contributions of Africans and their descendants in early modern Europe, as Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe (Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 2012-2013). For others see
Current projects in this area: Africans at the court of Louis XIV and in the Black working-class community in Amsterdam.

Stephanie Archangel studied sociology at the UvA and is a junior curator in the History department of the Rijksmuseum. Previously she was project leader at the Jewish Historical Museum, the Amsterdam 4 and 5 May committee, the Rembrandt House Museum and the Amsterdam Museum. Within the Rijksmuseum, Stephanie is involved in projects such as Document Netherlands and the Night of History and is committed to translating the collection into contemporary social issues. She is also working on a terminology project, in which the Rijksmuseum takes a critical look at existing titles and descriptions of its collection.