Cecily Brown. Temptations, Torments, Trials and Tribulations


More than 30 works by the British artist currently on display at Museo Novecento in Florence

Museo Novecento is once again hosting a focus on contemporary painting, presenting the works of one of its most talented exponents, English painter Cecily Brown. More than any other, she has been able to redefine the relationship between contemporary art and the grand figurative art of past centuries.

The exhibition in Florence gathers over thirty works, including mostly unpublished paintings and works on paper. These creations are born from a reflection on the Temptations of Saint Anthony, a subject widely explored by artists over the centuries and also studied by Michelangelo, who, at a very young age, as Vasari recounts, measured himself with a colored reproduction of an engraving by the German artist Martin Schongauer.

In the chapel of the Museo Novecento, an exceptionally displayed panel version of the Temptations of Saint Anthony from the Flemish school, created in the second half of the 16th century, is exhibited. This, like the one attributed to the young Michelangelo – now preserved in Texas – derives from the same engraving by Martin Schongauer. A very rare opportunity to observe the painting that inspired Cecily Brown along with the results of her dialogue with that bizarre and strange image in which a saint is tormented by a host of demons.

Cecily Brown, The aspiring subordinate, 2023, oil on linen

The exhibition continues in the Palazzo Vecchio Museum, where, in the Camerino di Bianca Cappello, lover of Duke Francesco I de’ Medici, the artist displays a single canvas. The Camerino housed collections and small valuable objects belonging to the noblewoman Bianca Cappello, in addition to a small opening that allowed her to secretly observe from above the bustling activity in the Salone dei Cinquecento, the venue for official receptions in the Palace.


Prominent among the works on display are the large canvases, where the whirlwinds of colours generate a sense of visual vertigo.

“The moment there is a clear image, the mind settles. And I don’t want it to settle. I like the restlessness, the openness and ambiguity that are there when there is constant change going on”.

Cecily Brown

Till 4 February 2024

Museo Novecento

Opening Time: Mon- Sun 11am – 8pm, closed on Thursdays

Tickets: Full €9.50, Reduced €4.50


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