The relaunch program of the Santa Maria della Scala Foundation in Siena

The relaunch program of the Santa Maria della Scala Foundation in Siena
The relaunch program of the Santa Maria della Scala Foundation in Siena

As President, I aim to bring my dual expertise, managerial and artistic, which I have explored in my university teaching but which I have above all been able to apply through projects both experimental and aimed at the general public, to preserve and enhance the historical, cultural and artistic heritage of the Santa Maria della Scala”. This is how Cristiano Leone explained his intentions to Artribune, taking over from Lucia Cresti as president of the Foundation. Intentions which today find concreteness in the new plan to relaunch the Sienese museum complex, with administrative and creative interventions: moving from the managerial structure to the new graphic identity, from the redefinition of the spaces of the ancient Spedale to the exhibition and performance programmes. To discover the dynamics and protagonists of this important transformation we asked the new president a few questions.

Interview with Cristiano Leone, president of the Santa Maria della Scala Foundation in Siena

Among the first interventions for the relaunch of the Santa Maria della Scala, there was talk of an architectural, urban and museographic Masterplan to rethink the spaces of the ancient hospital. How will it take place?
We have identified four internationally recognized architectural firms that have accepted the Foundation’s invitation to begin a journey in three stages: the first will take place this June 17th, with an initial inspection. A return will then follow on the occasion of the ISOCARP Conference, which will be held at the Santa Maria della Scala (9 – 12 October). A competition of ideas will then open, which will allow an international jury to select a winner from among the four invited studios, who will be entrusted with the creation of a general master plan that will transform Santa Maria della Scala, making it a place open to the city, through a new museographic itinerary which will include, among other innovations, a room dedicated to the history of the hospital.

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How will the competition be developed and what costs will the Foundation have to bear?
For the phase linked to the competition we have stipulated a total sum of 60 thousand euros, which will be distributed between the participants and the winner. The winner will then be entrusted with the implementation of the Masterplan, the amount of which will depend on the needs and priorities that are identified. We are therefore pleased to announce that the selected architectural firms are: Barozzi Veiga, Odile Decq, Studio LAN and Hannes Peer.

The exhibition and performance schedule of the Santa Maria della Scala in Siena

What line will the exhibition program follow and when will it debut?
The exhibition program for the next three years aims to build a bridge between different generations, cultures, eras and places. The first exhibition will open on 19 June with SOTTO/SOPRA Urban Art: from the street to the museum, round trip, curated by Patrizia Cattaneo Moresi and Michelina Simona Eremita, which tells the story of the evolution of urban art and inaugurates the new exhibition spaces in the street inside the museum (recently recovered). Not only that, visitors will have the opportunity to see the artists at work in site-specific interventions.

What will be on display during the July Palio?
The exhibition dedicated to the famous photographer Nino Migliori will be inaugurated on June 26th and will display a series of photographs dedicated to the sculptural masterpiece of Jacopo della Quercia, whose works are preserved and exhibited at the Santa Maria. The exhibition, curated by Lucia Simona Pacchirò.

Any previews of future exhibitions?
The first, entitled Constellations. Italian art 1915-1960, will open in October and will exhibit together for the first time some twentieth-century masterpieces from the Monte dei Paschi di Siena and Cesare Brandi collections, also welcoming a contemporary art intervention. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Monte dei Paschi Foundation and the National Art Gallery of Siena, with the curatorship of prof. Luca Quattrocchi. In the spring of 2025, however, a major exhibition will open, the first ever held, on the painter, sculptor, architect and goldsmith Lorenzo di Pietro, known as Il Vecchietta (Siena, 1410 – 80). It was deemed important to immediately begin to “tell” the history of the ancient Spedale Santa Maria della Scala through one of the artistic figures who most shaped the identity and history of this place, as the Santa Maria hosts some of the greatest masterpieces of he. The curatorship of this important exhibition is entrusted to Giulio Dalvit, curator of the Sculpture section of the Frick Collection in New York, who dedicated his doctoral thesis to Vecchietta, which will be published as a catalog and in-depth analysis of the exhibition, with a brand new photographic set .

What role will performing art play in the relaunch of the Sienese museum complex?
Through a series of musical, dance and theater performances, specifically conceived to evoke aspects of the identity history of the ancient Spedale, the Xenos Festival aims to bring life, gesture, voice and body back into the spaces that they took care of the bodies themselves. The programming, which will be presented in October, will feature Italian and international artists, in a mutual exchange aimed at interacting with the history of the place, its architecture and its masterpieces. The festival will take place on 6, 7 and 8 November 2024 and will take place annually.

Valentina Muzi

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