On 6 December 2016, the exhibition “Mariano Fortuny. The Magician of Venice. Collector. Artist. Couturier” opened in the General Staff building.
The State Hermitage continues the cycle of festive exhibitions by presenting a display of the works of the great 20th-century designer who in his own lifetime became known as “the Magician of Venice”. Although there has not previously been a single Fortuny exhibition in Russia, the name is widely known here and in the minds of the Russian public it is primarily associated with two generations of the family.
“This exhibition links the Hermitage and Italy, two Fortunys – father and son,” Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, said on opening the display. “Some stunning things are presented here: Renaissance fabrics brought from Venice, Coptic fabrics from the Hermitage collection, the famous vase named after Fortuny’s father and surrounded by things created by his son. This exhibition continues a series devoted to fashion and design: we hold exhibitions of costumes from the Hermitage’s stocks, there was the Yves Saint-Laurent exhibition, the Vyacheslav Zaitsev exhibition… So the art of design and fashion is becoming high art.”
Mikhail Piotrovsky welcomed Daniela Ferretti, Director of the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, Mickey Riad, owner and creative director of Fortuny Inc., the collector Nazim Mustafayev and Maurizio Cecconi, CEO of Villagio Globale. The Hermitage Director thanked Francesca Lavazza for sponsorship of the exhibition that has become the first project in the museum’s collaboration with the Lavazza company.
The exhibition in the Hermitage is a joint project with the Musei Civici di Venezia that have provided over 150 works for the event. The display also includes items from private collections in Venice and Russia.The design of the exhibition incorporates present-day products of the Fortuny factory in Venice that makes fabrics, some of them to Fortuny’s designs and using historical technologies.
The exhibition features Mariano Fortuny’s fabrics, dresses, dress designs, as well as his works for the theatre and a small part of his historical collection from the Musei Civici di Venezia. By way of historical parallels with Fortuny’s legacy, there are exhibits from the Hermitage’s stocks – Italian mediaeval and Renaissance fabrics, Coptic fabrics, ancient sculpture and Eastern ceramics.
The exhibition is curated by Tatyana Lekhovich, Candidate of Art Studies, senior researcher in the State Hermitage’s Department of Western European Applied Art, jointly with Daniela Ferretti and Chiara Squarcina.
The exhibition has been organized with the support of Lavazza, the Italian Institute of Culture in St Petersburg, the representations of Fortuny in Russia and Fortuny Inc. (Venice–New York).