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Uffizi director Eike Schmidt hits out at mayor of Florence—fuelling rumours of his personal political ambitions

Eike Schmidt, the director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, has attacked plans to deploy safety guards at purchasing centres within the metropolis, accusing its mayor of favouring shopkeepers over museums. The choice comes after Schmidt’s requires guards on the Uffizi had been rejected. The feedback have fuelled hypothesis that Schmidt is making ready to face in mayoral elections in Florence subsequent yr, representing Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing ruling Brothers of Italy occasion.

Dario Nardella, the left-wing mayor of Florence, introduced on Thursday that town council would offer €400,000 for safety guards who will patrol purchasing centres, as a part of a pilot scheme that can final six months. In response, Schmidt mentioned in an announcement: “My compliments to Mayor Nardella: after a fierce diatribe two months in the past in opposition to the deployment of armed anti-vandal guards on the Uffizi… he has lastly come to his senses. Welcome to actuality, mayor!”.

Schmidt additionally complained that town was defending outlets however not museums. In August, Nardella dismissed Schmidt’s proposal to deploy armed guards underneath the Vasari Hall, a part of the Uffizi Galleries, after two German vandals defaced the construction’s exterior columns. On the time, the mayor mentioned the measure can be “insufficient” and that round the clock distant surveillance can be simpler. Schmidt mentioned final week that the Uffizi would rent armed guards within the coming days who would patrol the hall “day and evening”.

Italian media has portrayed the stand off as a prelude to a possible electoral marketing campaign as rumours have swirled of Schmidt’s personal political ambitions. Senior figures inside Meloni’s occasion have refused to rule out that Schmidt, who was born in Germany however is because of be given Italian citizenship on 28 November, might stand as their mayoral candidate in Florence subsequent yr. Schmidt mentioned in an interview with native newspaper Corriere Fiorentino in September that he would “neither verify nor deny” his curiosity within the place. In the course of the interview, the director additionally laid out his imaginative and prescient for Florence— arguing that town had turn out to be “dirtier and fewer protected” underneath Nardella’s watch—and attacked the city-run Museo Novecento, suggesting that its curatorial choices had been poor and its director overpaid.

In response, 67 individuals, together with artists, artwork historians and artwork collectors, signed a letter in September urging Schmidt to step down from his function on the museum earlier than “launching an election marketing campaign”. Final week, Nardella sarcastically dubbed Schmidt a “right-wing candidate” within the “Uffizi Galleries election committee”—an obvious reference to the perceived politicisation of the museum.

Nonetheless, Schmidt might be extra focused on managing one other Italian museum than segueing into politics: whereas his second tenure on the Uffizi will finish this yr, he’s one in all 10 candidates for the highest job on the Museo e Actual Bosco di Capodimonte in Naples. A tradition ministry-appointed choice committee is because of announce the names of the brand new administrators of ten state-run museums, together with the Uffizi, Capodimonte and the Pinacoteca di Brera, within the coming days.

Vivian Thompson

Vivian Thompson is an accomplished and passionate art journalist with a keen eye for uncovering the stories behind the canvas. Born and raised in a culturally vibrant city, Vivian developed a deep appreciation for the arts from an early age. She holds a degree in Art History and Journalism from a prestigious university, where her academic pursuits fueled her curiosity and love for storytelling.
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