20 Italian top museums’ new directors announced: where is the bug?

Stefano Pirovano

A new page is about to be written in the history of Italian museums. But politics is still around and that could be a main issue.

The strategic revolution promoted by the Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini has finally produced the awaited 20 new directors that will run those main Italian museums that are going to be allowed – for the first time in their history – to manage their own finances. From the short lists announced a couple of months ago, Franceschini himself, with the only help of Ugo Soragni (General Director of the Italian Ministry of Culture’s Museums department), picked the twenty lucky winners.

The public announcement made by the press office of the Mibact points out that the new directors have an average age of 50 years old and that 7 of them are not Italian citizens (3 Germans, 2 Austrians, 1 British and 1 French). The balance between men and women is even too perfect: 10 to 10, with 14 art historians, 4 archaeologists and 2 museum managers. And too perfect seems also the number of foreigners, considering that they were only 14 on a first selection of 200 hundreds eligible candidates.

Anyway, except for a couple of cases that early rumours stigmatize – the not so brilliant former director of the MART, Cristiana Collu, and Anna Coliva, who is the only director who has had her position confirmed – it seems that after years of driven choices and nepotism some respectable and independent professionals have finally been chosen, probably with the true intention of making a step forward. And even if some insider may have the impression that names such as those of Enrica Pagella and Marco Pierini are too close to the same Partito Democratico to which the Premier Matteo Renzi and his Minister Dario Franceschini both belong they will have to admit that a new page in the history of the Italian artistic heritage has been opened – yet it is still to be written. Then they will also realize that those Italian main politic parties which haven’t taken care of culture in the past years have now to face a potential dramatic international defeat.

Here the names of the 20 new directors and their museums:

Anna Coliva (62, art historian) – Galleria Borghese, Rome.

Eike Schmidt (47, art historian) – Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence.

Cristiana Collu (46, art historian) – Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna, Rome.

Paola Marini (62, art historian) – Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice.

Sylvain Bellenger (60, art historian) – Museo di Capodimonte, Naples.

AllaJames Bradburne (59 cultural manager) – Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

Mauro Felicori (63, cultural manager) – Reggia di Caserta, Caserta.

Cecilie Hollberg (48, art historian) – Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence.

Martina Bagnoli (51, art historian) – Galleria Estense, Modena.

Flaminia Gennari Santori (47, art historian) – Gallerie Nazionali di Arte antica, Rome.

Peter Aufreiter (40, art historian) – Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino.

Marco Pierini (49, art historian) – Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, Perugia.

Paola D’Agostino (43, art historian) – Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence.

Paolo Giulierini (46, art historian) – Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples.

Carmelo Malacrino (44, archaeologist) – Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Reggio Calabria.

Eva Degl’Innocenti (39, archaeologist) – Museo Archeologico nazionale, Taranto.

Gabriel Zuchtriegel (34, archaeologist) – Parco Archeologico, Paestum.

Peter Assmann (61, art historian) – Palazzo Ducale, Mantova.

Serena Bertolucci (48, art historian) – Palazzo Reale, Genova.

Enrica Pagella (58, art historian) – Polo Reale, Torino.

May 11, 2020