Organised by the Fondazione per le scienze religiose in Bologna
The Fondazione per le scienze religiose di Bologna, in cooperation with academic and ecclesiastical institutions in Russia has organised "an exchange of masterpieces of art and faith between Florence and Moscow". The initiative, for which Eni is a partner, has been created with the patronage of the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Italian Republic and is one of the leading events in the year of Russian/Italian culture (l'anno della cultura Russia/Italia).
The Fondazione per le scienze religiose di Bologna is one of the world's most important libraries for the study of the history of Christianity and has an international reputation as a research institute.
The exchange involves five works of enormously artistic and spiritual prestige, and will be shown for the first time in the very special contexts of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Archdiocese in Florence.
Two important works from the Opera del Duomo in Florence by Giotto da Bondone and his workshop, never before seen in Russia, will go on show at the Galleria Tretyakov: Maestà di San Giorgio alla Costa, painted by Giotto between 1280 and 1290, and the Polittico di Santa Reparata, produced under his guidance in around 1305.
On show at the Baptistery in Florence, which will be especially set for the occasion, will be three icons of fundamental significance in Russian history held by the Tretyakov Gallery, that have never returned to a church since they were put in the museum: the Odighitria of Pskov, dated around 1290-1310, Vladimir's Ascension of the Cathedral, attributed to Rublev and dated 1408, and the Crucifixion of Our Lord of the Church of the Holy Trinty of the Pavel Monastery in Obnora (circa 1500) by Dionisij.
The idea of an exchange between Italy and Russia comes from the critical edition of Niceno II, the last council recognised as ecumenical by both the eastern and western churches and from which came down to us the common theology and doctrines regarding the veneration of images. It is an opportunity to show how a different interpretation of the body of Christ – which implicates the idea of man and faith at the same time – can also serve to illustrate how, on both a cultural and spiritual level a love for the other can exist between two peoples.
The proposal was discussed at the Italy/Russia Forum in Sochi, and presented to the highest government authorities of the two countries on 1 June at the Quirinale Palace in Rome. The project also met with fraternal enthusiasm from the Department of External Relations of the Russian Church and the Archdiocese of Florence.