Italy's Uffizi turns digital as arts and culture lives on in coronavirus lockdownRecord ID: 1463682
- Title: Italy's Uffizi turns digital as arts and culture lives on in coronavirus lockdown
- Date: 14th March 2020
- Summary: WORKER LOOKING AT COMPUTER SCREEN VARIOUS OF WORKER EDITING VIDEO
- Keywords: Florence Italy Uffizi gallery closed museums coronavirus health lockdown
- Reuters ID: LVA004C50WJ15
- Location: FLORENCE, ITALY
- City: FLORENCE, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Duration: 00:00:15
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Story Text:Italy is in lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus... but arts must go on.
Silence reigned in the empty corridors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence on Friday (March 13), with only the marbled faces of statues looking at each other after the Italian government imposed drastic curbs nationwide, shutting bars, restaurants, shops, and museums in an effort to halt the worst outbreak of the disease outside China.
But technology rushed to the aid of culture and the museum, famous for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings opened a Facebook channel on which art lovers from around every corner of the planet could enjoy a visit, safe from the contagion.
"The need was given by the situation we are living", digital strategist Cristian Spadoni told Reuters. "We have decided to implement our offer to ensure our physical presence in the homes of Italians and of all the visitors of the world who, at this moment, cannot enter the gallery."
The initiative, called "Uffizi Decameron", draws its inspiration from a famous 14th-century work by Giovanni Boccaccio, in which 10 young people escape the contagion of the black plague by taking refuge in a villa on the hills above Florence. In order to combat the boredom of forced lockdown, each of them tells a story a day, inspired each time to a different theme.
In this regard, Uffizi Gallery, at the time of coronavirus, has turned into a digital shelter for Italians staying at home.
The gallery also launched the initiative "My Room", a series of virtual mini-tours in which museum assistants illustrate some of the most suggestive corners of the museum, with their secrets and their works.
"We decided to create 'art pills' to allow people who can no longer physically visit the museum to admire the masterpieces and have a window to appreciate priceless works that we keep here at the Uffizi Gallery," museum assistant Antonella Madalese said.
As she was explaining the history behind the statues of Sala Niobe, a crew filmed the statues looking into the camera with their empty marbled eyes, an editor then assembled the video together with the words of Uffizi director, Eike Schmidt, and uploaded it on the gallery's Facebook page.
Digital art lovers thumbed up the initiative, with over 360,000 views and 27,000 new followers just on the first day of the new digital museum.
Waiting for the end of the lockdown, Italians and foreigners can now comfortably look at the magnificent artworks by Venice and Florence artists, including Titian, Tintoretto, and Leonardo Da Vinci from their laptops and smartphones.
With no risks, except for the contagion of the beauty.
(Production: Matteo Berlenga, Fabiano Franchitti)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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- Embargoed:28th March 2020 10:16
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