Modern Artists at the Museum of the 1900s, Florence

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Conservator Rossella Lari in her Florentine studio

The devastating flood that crippled Florence in 1966 extensively damaged museum storages and tarnished the city’s reputation as one of the world’s epicenters of art culture. Thousands of fragile art treasures waiting to be rescued were destroyed or severely battered by roiling muddy blasts of floodwaters from the Arno river. Responding to the natural disaster, dozens of women artists from around the world rallied to support the city and restore its status as the cradle of the Renaissance. Affectionately referred to as "the Flood Ladies", these women donated their paintings and sculptures on the promise they would be permanently in one of the city's. This project, designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the flood, say the recuperation of 14 works of art by “Flood Ladies”, five of which are now permanently displayed at Florence’s Twentieth Century Museum (Museo Novecento). The others were part of a temporary show at the same venue in 2016 called “Beyond Borders”. This conservation project was the backbone for Jane Fortune and Linda Falcone’s book entitled When the World Answered and the PBS documentary, based on the book, produced by WFYI Productions in 2014.

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