Thanks to the Horne Museum and to the gracious amenability of its director, Elisabetta Nardinocchi (who has turned a naturally magical showcase into a veritable treasure trove of memorable cultural events), the ceramics and bronzes of Paolo Staccioli are returning once more to the heart of Florence in this exhibition. We rejoiced at the chance to display his work in the Palazzina del Cavaliere in the Boboli Gardens, where his sculptures offset the classic porcelain pieces in our permanent collection in a dissonant and stimulating interplay; we had another chance to admire his talent in a select exhibition of his works in Via San Niccolò, again in the Oltrarno neighbourhood; and we have been closely tracking the quality of his production at exhibitions both local – Fiesole, Impruneta and Pontassieve – and international, latterly in New York.
The exhibition at the Horne – the completion of a project that has been bubbling away in the incubator for many years – offers us the world of Staccioli’s art as we know it and appreciate it, caught in a phase of broad and constructive development which can be detected also in his increased output of larger-scale works. Here we rediscover his vases, his spheres animated by handfuls of mysteriously waiting figures, his primeval horses and his warriors reminiscent of menhir-statues. The ancient roots of his art are revealed in a style that evokes rock-painting and Etruscan toreutic art. And we perceive the richness of his palette in a range of colours to which firing in a furnace imparts burnished nuances, adding a glowing bronzed, gilded or coppered sheen with the unpredictable variety that is such a feature of the technique. In several of his pieces Staccioli even manages to achieve innovative majesty, attaining the levels of sculpture to which his refined bronze burnishes have always alluded. His is a mature art yet one which, in blending with his infinite capacity for invention and his superb mastery of technique, continues to develop as it achieves results that embody the best in Florentine and Tuscan art today.
Superintendant for the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage and Museum System of the City of Florence
(From the catalogue of the exhibition Paolo Staccioli. Opere / Sculptures 1991-2011, Museo Horne Florence)