Eike Schmidt Will Head to Naples as 10 New Museum Directors Are Appointed to Italy’s Top Museums

Articolo pubblicato da ArtNet  – Autore Jo Lawson-Tancred

The recently naturalized Eike Schmidt is headed from Florence to Naples, as the Italian government announced a slew of new institutional appointments—all of whom have Italian passports. Italy’s ministry of culture has announced the much-anticipated new leads for ten of its most important museums, including the Uffizi Galleries,  Florence, and the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. Meloni’s far-right government has been forthright about its intention to favor native candidates and reverse the introduction of foreign directors to Italian museums under an earlier, left-leaning government.

The ministry’s outspoken undersecretary Vittorio Sgarbi put it most bluntly when he said in August: “We arrived, they leave. Why do I have to put a foreign director at the Uffizi? Have you ever seen a foreigner go to the Louvre?” He later claimed to be joking.

The naming of Eike Schmidt, the German-born director of the Uffizi since 2015, may have seemed like an exception, but he became an Italian citizen last month. He will now head the Capodimonte museum in Naples, putting an end to all rumors that he might have run for mayor of Florence in next year’s election. He will instead take the place of the Capodimonte’s previous French director Sylvain Bellenger, who has been at the post since 2015.

Replacing Schmidt at the Uffizi is Simone Verde, who will transfer to Florence from the Pilotta Monumental Complex in Parma. Italy’s National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art will be headed by Renata Cristina Mazzantini, who is currently curator of the Quirinale Contemporaneo project.

Meanwhile, Angelo Crespi, president of the MAGA museum of modern and contemporary art in northern Italy, will helm the Pinacoteca di Brera, replacing its previous British-Canadian director James Bradburne. The full list of appointments has been posted on the ministry’s website. Each new director has been offered a four-year term, which can be renewed only once.

In 2015, the then-culture minister Dario Franceschini actively encouraged applications for top leadership jobs from foreign candidates, who might bring a fresh perspective to Italian museums. Seven of the 20 directors he appointed were not Italians. This year, the ministry introduced a new rule stipulating that any candidate applying for leadership roles at Italian museums must at least have proficiency in the Italian language.