Italy’s Ministry of Culture revealed new leadership appointments for several prominent museums last week. They included the Uffizi in Florence previously headed by German-born Eike Schmidt.
In a statement released last Friday, the nationalist government disclosed that Simone Verde, a 48-year-old art historian currently heading the Pilotta museum complex in Parma, northern Italy, would assume the role of director at the Uffizi. Verde, who pursued theoretical philosophy in Rome and obtained an art history diploma from the École du Louvre in Paris, brings a wealth of experience, having previously served as the head of scientific research and publications at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Commencing his four-year term in January, Verde will succeed Eike Schmidt, the outgoing director of the Uffizi over the past eight years. Notably, Schmidt will take on a new role as the head of the Capodimonte Mus—a globally acclaimed art institution housing numerous masterpieces by artists such as Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Michelangelo.
Despite the official announcement, Schmidt has hinted at the possibility of entering politics, contemplating a run for the mayorship of Florence. He emphasised the challenge of balancing such a political role with managing a museum, asserting that dividing his time between Naples and Florence would be impractical.
Leadership changes for 10 museums
The Ministry of Culture’s announcement, encompassing leadership changes for eight additional museums, may signify a shift in the perspective governing Italy’s art scene. Eight years ago, a prior government reform allowed foreigners to helm major Italian museums.
Notably, Schmidt, originally from Germany, led the Uffizi, while Sylvain Bellenger, a French art historian, took charge at the Capodimonte Museum, and James Bradburne, a British cultural manager of Canadian origin, assumed leadership at the Brera art museum in Milan.
However, the recent appointments indicate an all-Italian line-up for the directorial positions. The tenure is for four years, which can be renewed only once. The new line-up is:
- Uffizi – Simone Verde
- National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art – Renata Cristina Mazzantini
- Museum and Real Bosco of Capodimonte – Eike Schmidt
- Pinacoteca di Brera – Angelo Crespi
- National Museum of Abruzzo – Federica Zalabra
- National Gallery of Umbria – Costantino D’Orazio
- National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria – Fabrizio Sudano
- National Galleries of Ancient Art – Thomas Clement Salomon
- National Archaeological Museum of Taranto – Stella Falzone
- Estensi Galleries – Alessandra Necci