'Real Time and Time of Reality. The Palazzo Pitti clocks from the seventeenth to the twentieth century'

On display clocks that have written the history of Palazzo Pitti

From 13 September 2016 to 08 January 2017

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Among the most interesting exhibitions in Florence, do not miss 'Real Time and Time of Reality. The Palazzo Pitti clocks from the 17th to the 20th century', spread across the splendid rooms of the Medici palace and open to the public until 8th January 2017. The exhibition presents the history of Palazzo Pitti through a rich collection of antique clocks.

The exhibition is a result of the desire to offer the public sphere the opportunity to learn about this rich collection of watches: the selection comprises more than 200 pieces, some of which belonged to the noble families that resided in the luxurious palace over the past centuries, others instead are purchases and donations from museum collections. In the current exhibition at Pitti Palace you will see 60 of these clocks, carefully chosen based on form and purpose: the exhibition will also be enriched by a fascinating scenic design of contemporary furniture and paintings.

The recurring motif of 'Real Time and Time of Reality. The Palazzo Pitti clocks from the 17th to the 20th century' is time and its many nuances. Not surprisingly, to welcome you in the courtyard, you will find the impressive sculptural masterpiece Kronos by Gherardo Silvani, which will kick-start this unforgettable experience, in which tickings, sounds, whistles and real music converge into a musical enchantment, in the same place where opera was born in the late 16th century.

The journey of what is known as one of the most original exhibitions at Pitti Palace 2016 winds through various decorated sections in the halls of the apartment of the Duchess of Aosta that will lead you to discover the varied facets of time during the Medici, Lorraine and Savoy dynasties.
Besides being useful for regulating life at court and being considered a status symbol for those who possessed them, clocks became the point of conjunction of two worlds: the world of science represented by the mechanism - to which the introductory movie is dedicated - and the world of art, represented by the case that, over time, has become a true work of art with its own independent value.

  • The first section of the exhibition in 2016 in Florence at Palazzo Pitti is dedicated to the tools used to measure time before the mechanical clock was introduced, inevitably linked to the reading of constellations. Among these you can admire Galileo Galilei's Jovilabe, as well as other examples of sundials pertaining to the collections of the Stibbert Museum and the Museum of Galileo. 
  • Accompanied by the ticking of the clocks that will immerse you into the atmosphere of the palace, you will reach the second section, devoted to the relationship between time and music. In addition to the concept of time as the measurement of the progress of events, the innovative application of sound devices to the mechanism of the clocks must be highlighted. This innovation, namely using sounds with a certain interval, led to the use of timepieces to improve how musical instruments worked. A striking example of such application is the Orchestrion, a contrivance able to reproduce the sound of an orchestra, exposed in the 'Sala della Musica' and regulated by a lyre clock placed at the top. This clock exhibition at Palazzo Pitti is truly unmissable! 
  • Watches are the subject of the third section of 'Real Time and Time of Reality. The Palazzo Pitti clocks from the 17th to the 20th century', the original exhibition at the Pitti Palace included in the calendar of Florence exhibitions 2016. Donated by various collectors and received by the Museum of the treasury of the Grand Dukes from 1929 onwards, this type of clock soon became a symbol of elegance and both masculine and feminine charm. The models on display are complemented by genuine paintings and clothes, testimonies of how this precious accessory was worn back then. 
  • The fourth and last section of the Pitti Palace in Florence exhibition, held at the Gallery of modern art Pitti Palace and dedicated to the 20th century, is preceded by a fascinating exhibition of precious contemporary jewellery, innovative shapes to represent the passing of time: among others, the 'Ore Perdute' ('lost hours') ring by Fausto Maria Franchi and 'L'Eterno ritorno' ('the Eternal return'), surrealist necklace by Virginia Tentindò.

 

Reaching the heart of this part of the exhibition, you can see how time was perceived during the 20th century: sometimes alienating, as demonstrated by 'Straniero' ('stranger') by Felice Casorati, sometimes quick and mechanical as highlighted by 'Libro Imbullonato' ('bolted book') by Fortunato Depero, sometimes obsessive, as depicted in the lyrical opera 'Il Diavolo nel Campanile' ('the Devil in the belfry') of which you will see a particular stage interpretation by Dino Buzzati.

 

Among the current Pitti Palace exhibitions, do not miss 'Real Time and Time of Reality. The Palazzo Pitti clocks from the 17th to the 20th century', housed at Pitti Palace until 8th January 2017!
Also known as the 'Pearl of the Renaissance' for its many artistic and historical wonders, the Tuscan capital deserves to be visited: in our section dedicated to tours in Florence, you will find many proposals... the choice is yours!

 

EXHIBITIONS 2016 FLORENCE: Real Time and Time of Reality

Location: Palazzo Pitti - Florence

Dates: from 13th September 2016 to 8th January 2017

By Insidecom Editorial Staff