Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World at the National Gallery of Art

An unprecedented exhibition of some 50 rare bronze sculptures and related works from the Hellenistic period is on view in Washington, D.C. at the National Gallery of Art from December 13, 2015, through March 20, 2016.  Previously at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World showcases bronze sculptures that are remarkably lifelike, often enhanced by copper eyelashes and lips and colored glass or stone eyes. Of the many thousands of bronze statues created in the Hellenistic period, only a small fraction is preserved. This exhibition is the first to gather together so many of the finest surviving bronzes from museums in Europe, North Africa, and the United States.


Medallion with Athena and Medusa, 200 – 150 BC

“We are delighted to present visitors with this rare opportunity to see these dazzling works up close,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. “We are grateful to the lenders—museums in Austria, Denmark, France, Georgia, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, the United States, and the Vatican—as well as Bank of America for their generous support.”

“Circa un terzo delle opere, diciotto per l’esattezza, per questa magnifica mostra provengono da musei italiani, e’ una testimonianza dell’altissimo livello di cooperazione che continua a consolidarsi anno dopo anno tra la ‘National Gallery of art’ e le principali istituzioni culturali italiane”, ha osservato l’ambasciatore d’Italia a Washington, Claudio Bisogniero.  “Sono molto lieto in particolare che anche grazie al sostegno della nostra Ambasciata, opere come il Corridore ed il Fauno Danzante dal Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, siano per la prima volta visibili al pubblico americano”.

During the Hellenistic period—generally from the late fourth century BC to the first century AD—the art and culture of Greece spread throughout the Mediterranean and lands once conquered by Alexander the Great. Through the medium of bronze, artists were able to capture the dynamic realism, expression, and detail that characterize the new artistic goals of the era.

Power and Pathos brings together the most significant examples of Hellenistic bronze sculpture to highlight their varying styles, techniques, contexts, functions, and histories. The conquests of Alexander the Great (ruled 336–323 BC) created one of the largest empires in history and ushered in the Hellenistic period, which ended with the rise of the Roman Empire. For some 300 years after Alexander’s death, the medium of bronze drove artistic experimentation and innovation. Bronze—surpassing marble with its tensile strength, reflective surface, and ability to hold the finest detail—was used for dynamic poses, dazzling displays of the nude body, and vivid expressions of age and character.

“Realistic portraiture as we know it today, with an emphasis on individuality and expression, originated in the Hellenistic period,” said exhibition curator Kenneth Lapatin.  Jens M. Daehner, co-curator, added, “Along with images of gods, heroes, and athletes, sculptors introduced new subjects and portrayed people at all stages of life, from infancy to old age.” Both Daehner and Lapatin are associate curators in the department of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A widespread ancient phenomenon, Hellenistic art is found not only throughout the Mediterranean, but also in regions far away, such as Thrace in the Balkans, ancient Colchis (in the Republic of Georgia), and the southern Arabian Peninsula. Through several thematic sections, the exhibition emphasizes the unique role of bronze both as a medium of prestige and artistic innovation and as a material exceptionally suited for reproduction.

“The works from the Power and Pathos exhibition represent a turning point in artistic innovation during one of the most culturally vibrant periods in world history,” said Rena De Sisto, global arts and culture executive, Bank of America. “We’re thrilled to be the National Tour Sponsor and to help bring this important collection to D.C. in hopes to inspire curiosity and wonder.”

Italian Republic Day Message from Italian Amb Claudio Bisogniero

Dear fellow Italians,

Today, June 2nd, 2015 we celebrate the 69th anniversary of the Founding of the Italian Republic. This is also the first time that our new Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, celebrates this special day. We recognize, in particular, the core values at the base of our unity: freedom, democracy, equality, and peaceful coexistence between Peoples. These are the shared values which bind us, in close friendship, with the Country which hosts us: the United States of America.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Italy’s entry into World War I: a dramatic conflict which we paid heavily for, but which also completed our national unity. A war which, above all, did not only involve Italians in Italy, but also the 115.000 Italians in America who left their adoptive Country to answer the call of their native land.

Amb. Claudio Bisogniero

Amb. Claudio Bisogniero

The anniversary of the Founding of the Republic which we recognize today thus represents a solemn opportunity to celebrate the identity of Italians and Americans of Italian origin, and to strengthen the bonds which join us. It is also a time to underline our pride in our common roots and in the promotion of Italy’s cultural excellence – in its widest significance – throughout the United States.

Upholding our identity goes hand-in-hand with furthering the language of Dante. We are all steadfastly committed to this, and to the final goal of reinstituting Advanced Placement Italian via financial self-sufficiency. The goal is in sight. It is therefore right, and important, to make that final push to give the Italian language the room and role that it deserves in this country, where over 25 million citizens claim Italian ancestry.

Italy and the US also enjoy strong economic ties. The strengthening of these relations, on a European level too, is an objective to strive towards to overcome current circumstances and to create new opportunities for growth and more jobs. In other words: prosperity and wellbeing. Italy therefore supports TTIP, the free trade project, which would unleash important economic benefits for both the United States and European countries – starting with Italy.

EXPO Milan 2015 – the spectacular world fair that opened its doors last month – is equally important, both in terms of economic potential and as a spectacular showcase to raise global awareness on nutrition and sustainability. Milan – and, through it, Italy – is currently the world forum for a decisive debate for humankind, centered on food and health – two areas in which Italy has long excelled.

My friends, let me take this opportunity also to underline once more my sincere appreciation for you, Italians of America: for your support of, and collaboration with, the Embassy and the entire consular network. This determination to be actively involved was reflected once more in the recent elections for the renewal of Comites. The results showed the different aspects of our emigration – traditional and more recent – join hands. They will, I am sure, play a pivotal role in promoting the interests of our collectivities.

Thank you for your work, your commitment, your study, your research and your creativity, and for the example that you set – all hugely contributing factors to the extraordinary, growing prestige of Italy in the United States.

You are our reason for pride.
Viva la Repubblica Italiana, viva gli Stati Uniti, and viva the Italians of America!

Claudio Bisogniero
Ambassador of Italy to the United States of America

Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence

The first major retrospective exhibition ever presented of paintings by the imaginative Italian Renaissance master Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522) premieres at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, this Sunday, February 1 through May 3, 2015. Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence will showcase some 44 of the artist’s most compelling works. With themes ranging from the pagan to the divine, the works include loans from churches in Italy and one of his greatest masterpieces, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Elizabeth of Hungary, Catherine of Alexandria, Peter, and John the Evangelist with Angels (completed by 1493), from the Museo degli Innocenti, Florence. Several important paintings will undergo conservation treatment before the exhibition, including the Gallery’s Visitation with Saints Nicholas of Bari and Anthony Abbot (c. 1489–1490)—one of the artist’s largest surviving works.

“We are delighted to share the brilliance of Piero di Cosimo—the Renaissance’s most spellbinding storyteller—with our visitors,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. “This is also the first time the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence has co-organized a paintings exhibition with another museum and we look forward to many more projects with our Italian partners.”

After Washington, a different version of the exhibition, including work by Piero’s contemporaries, will be on view at the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence from June 23 through September 27, 2015, entitled Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522): Pittore fiorentino “eccentrico” fra Rinascimento e Maniera.

“No artist has given the world more rare and singular inventions while remaining in the shadow of the Renaissance greats of his time than Piero di Cosimo,” said Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage for the City and the Museums of Florence. “His beguiling pictorial creations will linger in the imagination of all those who see the exhibition.”

“Una iniziativa unica nel suo genere, di grandissimo prestigio – ha commentato l’Ambasciatore d’Italia a Washington Claudio Bisogniero – che conferma lo straordinario rapporto di collaborazione tra la National Gallery e il sistema museale italiano, grazie anche all’opera del Ministero degli Esteri italiano e della nostra Ambasciata. Per citare alcuni recenti esempi, penso alla mostra del David Apollo dal Museo Nazionale del Bargello e del Galata Morente dai Musei Capitolini che hanno rispettivamente aperto e chiuso il 2013 – Anno della Cultura Italiana negli Stati Uniti, la mostra della Danae di Tiziano dal Museo di Capodimonte per celebrare il semestre di Presidenza italiana dell’UE, e alla serie innumerevole di concerti, mostre, proiezioni di film che organizziamo costantemente con questo grande museo americano”.

Piero di Cosimo, Liberation of Andromeda, c. 1510-1513 Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Piero di Cosimo, Liberation of Andromeda, c. 1510-1513
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Alinari / Art Resouce, NY


Lido Civic Club of Washington DC to Host Annual Past Presidents Night, November 22, 2014

The Lido Civic Club of Washington, DC will honor their Woman and Man of the Year for 2015. They are Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett Co., Inc. and Joseph A. Martore, President & Chief Executive Officer of CALIBRE Systems Inc. The Lido Civic Club will also honor Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, with the National Public Service Award

The Lido Civic Club of Washington, DC, an 85 year old Italian and American civic and charitable organization, will be honoring this Saturday, November 22, 2014, at the Italian Embassy, a dynamic Italian-American couple as their Man and Woman of the Year for 2015. They are Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett Co., Inc. and Joseph A. Martore, President & Chief Executive Officer of CALIBRE Systems Inc. The Lido Civic Club will also be honoring Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, with the National Public Service Award.

Gracia Martore

Gracia Martore

Gracia Martore became CEO of Gannett in October 2011. Ms. Martore is the chairman and president of Gannett Foundation which supports non-profit activities in the communities which Gannett serves. The Foundation invests in the future of the media industry, encourages employee giving, reacts to natural and other disasters and contributes to a variety of charitable causes. Ms. Martore champions and actively participates in USA WEEKEND’s annual Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of community service.

Joe Martore joined CALIBRE in March 2004 as part of its acquisition of Strategic Management Initiatives, Inc. (SMI), which he co-founded and served as President & CEO. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Mr. Martore serves as a principal consultant to the U.S. Army. Mr. Martore currently is a member of the MIT Engineering Systems Division Alumni Advisory Council, and serves on the Boards of Directors for the Professional Services Council (PSC), the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Easter Seals Serving DC | MD | VA, and the Laurel Grove School Museum Association.

Gene L. Dodaro is the eighth Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). As Comptroller General, Mr. Dodaro helps oversee the development and issuance of hundreds of reports and testimonies each year to various committees and individual Members of Congress. These and other GAO products have led to hearings and legislation, billions of dollars in taxpayer savings, and improvements to a wide range of government programs and services.

“We look forward to honoring these three outstanding individuals who have given much to our community and who make us all proud of our Italian heritage,” said Francesco Isgro, President of the Lido Civic Club.

“We are honored to host Lido Civic Club of Washington DC at our Embassy for the Annual Past Presidents Night – said Ambassador of Italy to the U.S. Claudio Bisogniero – This organization enjoys a great tradition in keeping Italian heritage alive among Italian Americans in the D.C. area and beyond, and in supporting Italian culture and the study of Italian language especially among young generations”.

About the Lido Civic Club: The Lido Civic Club is an Italian-American organization serving the Washington metropolitan area since 1929. Through the Lido Civic Club Charities, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation, it has awarded $417,000 in scholarships to Italian-American students in the area. The Lido Club also funds Italian cultural programs, supports wounded warriors, and performs other philanthropic activities in the Washington D.C. area and beyond. Lido has no paid staff and does not employ or retain lobbyists.


Titian’s Danaë in Washington inaugurates Italy’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The Danaë (1544-45) by Titian, one of the masterpieces that best represents the Italian Renaissance, marked the inauguration today, in the nation’s capital, of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Representatives of the U.S. administration, members of the diplomatic corps, and the press gathered at the National Gallery of Art, where the work will be on exhibit until November 2.

Amb Claudio Bisogniero at National Gallery of Art

“The Italian Presidency of the cycle coincides with a new institutional framework within the European Union and will have as its priority economic growth and the creation of new jobs,” noted Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Claudio Bisogniero. “The term will also be important,” he added, “in strengthening the partnership between Europe and the USA, for example, as regards the TTIP negotiations, the future transatlantic agreement on trade and investment.”

“We are delighted to host a masterpiece such as the Danaë ,” declared Franklin Kelly, Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Art, who also pointed out that the Gallery has the largest Titian collection in the United States.

The event was organized by the Italian Embassy in Washington and the National Gallery of Art, in collaboration with the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, which loaned the work of art, and the Superintendence for the National Museums System of Naples and the Caserta Royal Palace. The exhibition, part of the Italy in US campaign (italyinus.org), was made possible by the generous contribution of Intesa Sanpaolo and the collaboration of the Berlucchi and Ferrero Groups.

The Danaë exhibition is the first in a series of events in the U.S. organized by the Italian Embassy in Washington to celebrate Italy’s semester at the Presidency of the European Union (italia2014.eu). From now through December 2014, events are planned not only in the fields of art and culture, but also as related to the economy, innovation, science, and public diplomacy. Among these activities is a conference on “Employment, Growth, and Quality Jobs: a Transatlantic Discussion” at the Peterson Institute that will compare the economic strategies of Europe and the U.S. and a series of meetings on the 450th anniversary of Galileo Galilei.

Titian’s Danaë in DC to Celebrate Italian Presidency of EU Council

To celebrate the commencement of Italy’s presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), the Italian government is bringing to Washington’s National Gallery of Art, one of the most sensual paintings of the Italian Renaissance—Titian’s Danaë (1544–1545).

“We are very pleased to continue our excellent cooperation with a prestigious institution such as the National Gallery in Washington on the occasion of the presentation of Titian’s Danaë,” said the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero. “We are particularly delighted that this exhibition will launch in the U.S. the Italian Presidency of the European Union, an important opportunity also to further strengthen the friendship between the two sides of the Atlantic.”

“The richness of the Gallery’s collection of Venetian 16th-century painting includes the largest holdings in the United States of works by Titian and his studio, with 13 paintings, eight prints, and two drawings,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “We are most grateful for the generosity of the Capodimonte Museum in Naples and are pleased to present the Danae in such close proximity to other related works by Titian, celebrating the genius and legacy of one of the world’s most influential painters.”

The Danaë is one of several examples of the genre of erotic mythologies in Western art popularized by Titian. Two other examples of this genre by Titian from the Gallery’s permanent collection—Venus with a Mirror (c. 1555) and Venus and Adonis (c. 1560)—are also on view in the West Building, in gallery M-23.

“The Special Superintendency for Historic, Artistic and Ethno-anthropologic Properties of the City of Naples Museum Hub and the Palace of Caserta is particularly pleased to collaborate in this extraordinary event for promoting the excellence of Italian culture in the United States,” said Fabrizio Vona, superintendent, Cultural Heritage for the City and the Museums of Naples and the Royal Palace of Caserta.

The painting will be on loan from the Capodimonte Museum, Naples— and will be on view July 1 through November 2, 2014, in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. Italy’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union runs from July 1 through December 31, 2014.

Titian (c. 1488/90–1576)

In a career that spanned more than 70 years, Tiziano Vecellio (called Titian in English) was the greatest force in Venetian Renaissance painting. Born around 1490 in the town of Pieve di Cadore in the Italian Alps, Titian moved at an early age to Venice to study art. After training briefly with a mosaicist, he studied with Giovanni Bellini, the leading painter of his generation. Titian was influenced not only by Bellini’s use of rich color but also by the pastoral and mythological scenes of fellow Bellini pupil Giorgione.

By 1510, Titian had established himself as an independent master and, after Bellini’s death, he was appointed official painter to the Venetian Republic. Following a number of commissions for the courts of Ferrara, Mantua, and Urbino, Titian’s fame spread internationally. His patrons included the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Philip II of Spain, Francis I of France, and Pope Paul III.

Titian was a master in all painted genres. He produced dignified and insightful portraits, Madonnas of modesty and charm, playful mythological pictures, sensuous nudes, and meditative religious works. Titian died in 1576 and was buried in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, where his dramatic altarpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin (1516–1518), had been installed nearly 60 years before.

Danaë (1544–1545)

The loves of the gods were a favorite theme of Titian’s princely patrons. During the course of his long career, he became the greatest and most influential interpreter of these amorous episodes, drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and other literary texts.

A celebration of the recumbent female nude, the Danaë depicts the legendary maiden, in bed and about to receive Jupiter, the king of the gods. Lured by reports of her beauty, Jupiter appears to her in the guise of a shower of gold coins.

Commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, grandson of Pope Paul III, the painting was completed during a visit Titian made to Rome in 1545–1546. Wealthy and worldly, Alessandro Farnese was both a distinguished patron of the arts and a notorious womanizer with a mistress (a courtesan named Angela). At a time when ecclesiastics were under fire for their licentious and corrupt ways, it was prudent to transform an all-too-contemporary courtesan into a mythological figure whose nudity was sanctioned by classical precedent.

The Danaë was looted by German troops on behalf of Field Marshal Hermann Göring during the Second World War and was discovered afterward in the Austrian salt mine at Alt Aussee. The canvas was brought to the Munich Central Collecting Point by the so-called Monuments Men in 1945 and returned to the Italian government two years later.

SOURCE: NGA et al.

Messaggio dell’Ambasciatore Claudio Bisogniero ai connazionali in occasione del 2 Giugno 2014

Cari Connazionali,

quella del 2 giugno è la più importante ricorrenza istituzionale del nostro Paese perché in questa data celebriamo la fondazione stessa della Repubblica, basata sui valori della libertà, della democrazia, dell’uguaglianza e della pacifica convivenza tra i popoli. Proprio quei valori, quindi, che ci uniscono profondamente al grande Paese che ci ospita, gli Stati Uniti.

Ecco perché per noi qui – e per le decine di milioni di persone che in un modo o nell’altro sono figlie sia dell’uno che dell’altro Paese – la festa nazionale assume un valore ancora più forte. Si tratta quindi anche di un’occasione per celebrare valori condivisi e una comune visione delle relazioni internazionali; un momento per festeggiare la profonda amicizia tra Italia e Stati Uniti.

Il 68mo anniversario della Repubblica diventa, all’estero, anche un’occasione per celebrare l’identità di italiani e di italo-americani, e di sentire l’orgoglio di discendere o provenire da un grande Paese e da una incomparabile cultura.

Ma non c’è cultura e non c’è identità senza lingua. Voglio cogliere l’occasione di questo mio messaggio per il 2 giugno per ribadire il mio appello a tutti – italiani, italo-americani ed italofili – per una grande mobilitazione per la promozione della lingua italiana negli Stati Uniti. Si tratta di una sfida che passa nell’immediato anche attraverso il definitivo ristabilimento – un volta raggiunta la sua autosostenibilità – dell’esame di Advanced Placement di Italiano. Ci stiamo avvicinando all’obiettivo, e sento che ce la faremo. Ma non dobbiamo risparmiare tutti gli sforzi per ridare alla nostra lingua la posizione che merita in America. Il mio grazie va a tutti coloro – gli insegnanti, i rappresentanti della collettività, gli enti e le associazioni italiane e italo-americane – che stanno sostenendo questo impegno a favore dell’italiano.

Cari connazionali, il nostro Paese sta attraversando una fase molto importante di riforma e rilancio dell’economia e di ritrovamento di quella fiducia in noi stessi che dobbiamo dare soprattutto alle nuove generazioni. Tutti – residenti in Patria e all’estero – possiamo contribuire al grande sforzo in atto. So, perché in tanti me lo avete detto, che non farete mancare il vostro apporto.

L’Italia – ben consapevole delle difficoltà economiche che incontrano molti cittadini, in particolare i giovani – intende promuovere durante il nostro semestre di presidenza UE politiche volte alla crescita economica e all’occupazione; ricordando come anche la nostra costituzione sancisce il principio che “l’Italia è una repubblica fondata sul lavoro”. Anche in questa prospettiva il governo italiano darà il suo massimo sostegno ai negoziati per l’aerea di libero scambio TTIP: un grande accordo economico e commerciale che porterà benefici ad entrambe le sponde dell’Atlantico.

Ci aspettano importanti appuntamenti internazionali come – appunto – il semestre di Presidenza italiana dell’Unione Europea, a partire dal prossimo luglio, in cui intendiamo imprimere un rinnovato spirito europeista e solidale a quel grande sistema di integrazione continentale che è l’UE.

Ci attende inoltre l’Esposizione Universale di Milano 2015, un evento di portata mondiale dedicato alle sfide della nutrizione e della sostenibilità. EXPO Milano 2015 porrà a partire dal 1 maggio del prossimo anno l’Italia al centro di un dibattito fondamentale per l’avvenire del pianeta, su temi come quello del cibo e della salute, che ci vedono all’avanguardia da sempre. Vi invito fin da ora a programmare una vista ad EXPO e, al tempo stesso, alle straordinarie bellezze del nostro Paese.

Cari connazionali, nell’augurare a tutti una buona festa della Repubblica – che ci faccia ricordare il significato profondo di quello che oggi celebriamo – colgo l’occasione per ringraziare tutti (italiani di prima generazione, discendenti, italo-americani e amici dell’Italia), per la straordinaria collaborazione che offrite a tutta la rete diplomatico-consolare italiana negli Stati Uniti. E vi ribadisco il nostro impegno continuo dell’Ambasciata, della rete consolare per sostenervi nei vostri sforzi e nella vita quotidiana. Vorrei anche ringraziarvi per il grande contributo che il vostro sacrificio, il vostro lavoro, i vostri studi, la vostra ricerca e la vostra creatività, offrono all’Italia e alla sua immagine e reputazione in questo Paese.
Viva l’Italia, Viva gli Stati Uniti d’America, viva gli Italiani di America!

Maria Bartiromo, Winner Urbino Press Award 2014

Maria Bartiromo, one of the nation’s most noted financial journalists, is the winner of the 2014 Urbino Press Award. Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero will formally make the announcement on April 15, 2014, at the Italian Embassy where Bartiromo will give an acceptance speech.

Maria Bartiromo

Bartiromo is currently the business news anchor and global editor for Fox Business Network and most recently was anchor for CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo.” A winner of two Emmy Awards, she is also a magazine columnist and author of several business books. She has been called “the Sophia Loren of financial journalism.” Bartiromo has ben nicknamed the “Money Honey” due to her striking looks and for being the first woman to report live from the raucous floor of the New York Stock Exchange and “Econo Babe”. We call her a “rock star”!

In 1995, Bartiromo became the first journalist to report live on a daily basis from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, where she covered breaking news for the network’s unscripted and fast-paced business morning program, “Squawk Box.”

Bartiromo, who has served as Grand Marshal of the Annual New York Columbus Day Parade, and has hosted the annual NIAF gala dinner in Washington, has said that she grew up “in an Italian- American home in an Italian-American neighborhood with very traditional Italian culture of hard work, love of family, and respect for others…members of the Italian American community, like those of the many ethnic groups that have helped build America.”

The Urbino Press Award, now in its ninth year, has become an annual tradition in Washington’s diplomatic and journalistic arena since it was first was presented in 2006 at the Italian Embassy.

The prize is assigned each year in recognition of excellence in journalism to American reporters who, through their commitment and daily work maintain the ability to inform millions of people and do so in an exemplary fashion. Past recipients of the award include: Diane Rehm (2006), Michael Weisskopf (2007), Martha Raddatz (2008), Thomas Friedman (2009), David Ignatius (2010), Helene Cooper (2011), Sebastian Rotella (2012) and Wolf Blitzer (2013).

The actual award is presented at the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino in June. The recipient travels to Urbino to participate in a ceremony and then holds a “Lectio Magistralis” at the Palazzo Ducale.
The city of Urbino, which during the Renaissance gave life to one of the most enlightened courts of Europe, symbolically reinstates its court, once enriched by illustrious thinkers such as Baldassarre Castiglione and Torquato Tasso. The revived court includes the voice and experience of today’s reporters, the outstanding interpreters of the events that are changing our world.


Italian Amb. Claudio Bisogniero launches new ItalyinUS.org

Italian culture in the U.S. has a new online platform: the website www.italyinus.org, the cultural portal of Italy’s diplomatic network in the United States. Simple to use and with all the information you need, the new site is your guide to the hundreds of cultural events organized or supported by the Italian Embassy in Washington, Italy’s Consulates and by the Italian Institutes of Culture in the United States.

Amb Claudio Bisogniero

With its own hashtag Twitter #ITcultureUS, the platform also includes Facebook, building on last year’s 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the United States page.

The initiative was inspired by the experience of the Year of Culture: a kaleidoscope of over 300 prestigious events organized from coast to coast in 2013, which generated great interest from the public and press in both the U.S. and Italy. The logo of “Italy in US” – an American flag and an Italian flag joined together – closely resembles the logo of the Year, proof that the initiative was not a short-lived celebration, but a carefully planned and permanent foundation from which to re-launch the promotion of our culture in the U.S. and to raise awareness overseas of the best of Italy’s past, present, and future. Its extraordinary cultural heritage but also its continuing ability to inspire.

“What has guided us — commented the Ambassador of Italy in Washington, Claudio Bisogniero — is, on the one hand, the desire to facilitate access to information regarding our cultural initiatives to all those who are interested, and, on the other hand, to bring together a team. Especially when it comes to cultural cooperation, we must involve the largest possible number of institutional and non-institutional actors, mobilizing resources, generating and circulating ideas and projects. To make this happen, you can’t do without a unique showcase, like the new site, and a virtual hub where maximum use is made, as we are now doing, of social media tools. This was one of the main lessons of the Year of Culture.”


Digital Diplomacy at Italian Embassy in Washington

Digital diplomacy was the topic of discussion at the Italian Embassy in Washington this evening.  This was the third event hosted by Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, who has been bringing experts together to discuss and analyze how global interconnectivity and the real-time information cycle are transforming the  way citizens and government interact.

Among the panelists this evening were: Amb. Bisogniero; PJ Crowley (Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, and Professor, The George Washington University); Katie Dowd (Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer, The White House); Zeenat Rahman (Special Advisor to the US Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues); Gianni Riotta (Author, “Has the Web brought us freedom?”). The panel was moderated by Darrell West (Vice President and Director of Governance Studies, Brookings Institution).

The following were some of the tweets that the discussion generated:

@eDipAtState: Pretty soon use of #digitaldiplomacy will be recognized just as #diplomacy according to @katiewdowd #rtdiplomacy@DrTedros

There’s no dark side of #internet: it’s a reflection of the dark side of society, says @riotta at #RTDiplomacy

#rtdiplomacy @PJCrowley: use networks as advantage, know your digital environment…engage and listen.

Gianni Riotta ‏@riotta3h

.@PJCrowley Is confidentiality dead in the age of #rtdiplomacy? Yes!

#rtdiplomacy @PJCrowley– traditional #diplomacy has always occurred behind closed doors, but is now seeping out into the open

@riotta at #rtdiplomacy : Machiavelli’s The Prince is perfect to address contemporary politics,except that it lacks social media #italyinUS

RT @andreas212nyc: The great challenge for #digitaldiplomacy is to learn to LISTEN, says @PJCrowley at #RTDiplomacy #SocialMedia

Festa della Repubblica Commemorated at Holy Rosary Church

Italy’s Festa della Repubblica was commemorated Sunday in Washington, DC at a mass held at Holy Rosary Church, the Italian National Parish. Members of the Italian Diplomatic Corps joined parishioners at the Italian mass con-celebrated by Fr. Lydio Tomasi and Fr. Claudio Holzer. Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero gave some brief remarks praising the contributions of the Italian American community. Amb. Bisogniero also presented certificates of appreciations to the teachers of Italian in the Washington metropolitan area. Following the mass, a reception was held at the Casa Italiana Cultural Center.

Monumental Statue Boxer at Rest on Special Loan to Metropolitan Museum

The celebrated over-life-size bronze statue Boxer at Rest—an exceptionally realistic ancient Greek sculpture created between the late fourth and the second century B.C., on loan from the Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme—will be shown outside Europe for the first time in The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece, a special presentation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, beginning Saturday, June 1 until July 15, 2013. This extraordinary work will be on view for six weeks only.

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, and the Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. Support is provided by Eni, the main sponsor of the exhibition.

The event is part of 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the United States, an initiative held under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., with the support of the Corporate Ambassadors Eni and Intesa Sanpaolo.

“We are proud to host The Boxer at Rest, a special loan made possible by the Republic of Italy,” commented Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum. “More than 2,000 years have passed since this virtuoso work of art was created, yet the powerful realism of its subject continues to captivate viewers today. The privilege to display this marvelous statue in the United States for the first time—and in the context of the Met’s exceptional collection—is a particular honor. We encourage our visitors not to miss this exciting opportunity.”

“Viewing one of the most stunning statues from antiquity is truly a singular opportunity,” said Italy’s Ambassador to the U.S., Claudio Bisogniero. “The Boxer is a masterpiece and its exhibition at the prestigious Met speaks volumes about the success of the Year of Italian Culture in the United States and how the more than 200 programmed events are contributing to expanding and deepening the relations between Italy and the U.S.”

“At Eni, culture means ‘relationships.’ Through culture, in Italy and all over the world, we create links with the territories in which we operate,” stated Paolo Scaroni, Chief Executive Officer, Eni S.p.A. “We are inextricably linked with the U.S.A., both as a country and as a company. This is true historically, due to the role played by America in Europe, and in Italy, in the 20th century. It is also true in terms of our current relationships, with some of the most important organizations in the United States, across the fields of the arts, industry, and research. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is certainly one of the institutions that best reflects the American passion for culture, with its immeasurable artistic endowment spanning every era and every corner of the globe. Through The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece, we hope you will feel as if we have brought a piece of Italy within these prestigious walls.”

The statue was excavated in Rome in 1885 on the south slope of the Quirinal Hill near the ancient Baths of Constantine, where it is thought to have been displayed. The sculpture was buried intentionally in late antiquity, possibly to preserve it against the barbarian invasions that ravaged Rome in the fifth century A.D. The broad-shouldered, lanky pugilist is shown seated, resting after a match. His gloves—which are highly detailed—identify him as a boxer.

The athlete’s many head wounds are consistent with ancient boxing techniques, in which the head was the main target. The copper inlays, indicating blood, heighten the effect. The boxer’s right eye is swollen, his nose is broken, and he breathes through his mouth, probably because his nostrils are blocked by blood. His scarred lips are sunken, suggesting missing teeth. The ears, swollen from blows, indicate possible hearing loss. Drops of blood from the wounds on his head have trickled down his right arm and leg. Wear on the foot and hands suggests that they were touched frequently in antiquity, possibly in veneration.

Because the iconography is related to statues of Herakles sculpted by Lysippos in the fourth century B.C., the Boxer at Rest may have been meant to celebrate a mythical—or real—boxer, who was glorified for his endurance and courage. Scholars have long debated the date of the statue, placing it anywhere from the middle of the fourth century B.C. to the middle of the first century B.C. The sculpture is an exceptional work in bronze from the Hellenistic period (323–31 B.C.) and is of outstanding artistry.

Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
The Museo Nazionale Romano was established at the end of the 19th century. It houses countless archaeological finds unearthed in Rome. The need for larger and more fitting locations to host the museum’s collection led to the creation of a group of new museums around the city: Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Palazzo Altemps, and Crypta Balbi.

Built at the end of the 19th century, the Palazzo Massimo was purchased by the Italian State in 1981 to house the Museo Nazionale Romano’s collection of ancient art, coinage, and jewelry. The evolution of Roman artistic culture from the Late Republican Age through Late Antiquity (second century B.C.–fifth century A.D.) is shown through the beauty and magnificence of the collections on display on four floors. The museum houses celebrated masterpieces of statuary, of which the bronze statue Boxer at Rest is a superb example, as well as polychrome mosaics and precious engraved gems; exceptional frescoes from the Villa of Livia and the Villa della Farnesina; and an impressive numismatic collection.

The exhibition will be featured on the Metropolitan Museum’s website (www.metmuseum.org).


Source:  Metropolitan Museum