Opened in 2000, the MAC, N – Museum of Contemporary Art and of the Twentieth Century is located in a villa from 1887. The design, with a Renaissance layout, was by the architect Cesare Spighi and is in line with the eclectic taste of the late Tuscan 19th century. It was built just outside Monsummano in an area called Renatico, on the road that goes up to the castle.
Today owned by the city, Villa Renatico Martini once belonged to Ferdinando Martini (1841-1928), a statesman, man of letters, journalist, and the first publisher of Collodi's 'The Adventures of Pinocchio'.
Restored and open to the public as a cultural center since 1988, the villa is set inside a park renowned for its prized plant species, including cork oaks, camphor trees, and sequoias.
Dedicated to the study and understanding of contemporary art from the 1900s, the museum contains a core collection of paintings, graphics, and sculpture by local artists from the 20th and 21st centuries (the Renatico Civic Collection). Temporary exhibitions and events are periodically organized. The collection contains works by Pietro Annigoni, Vinicio Berti, Ferdinando Chevrier, Lamberto Pignotti, Eugenio Miccini, and Ketty La Rocca as well as by young contemporary artists.
Today a virtual reconstruction lets the visitor enjoy the pictorial cycle commissioned by Ferdinando Martini for the ceiling of the villa's monumental entrance. It included works by such Macchiaioli as Giovanni Fattori, Francesco and Luigi Gioli, Eugenio Cecconi, Niccolò Cannicci, and Angelo Torchi. They were sold upon the owner's death.
Over time, the Museum of Contemporary Art and of the Twentieth Century has welcomed various genres of cultural exhibitions organized by the municipality in collaboration with important cultural institutions. Moreover, it is an exhibition venue for contemporary art exhibitions, conferences and study seminars, chamber music concerts, cinema and open-air theater during the summer.
One of Villa Martini's most important events is the City of Monsummano Terme International Engraving Prize that, since 1999, has targeted Italian and foreign students in fine arts academies. A three-month opportunity is offered so as to participate in events where engraving is the key factor. On this occasion, works by young engravers, master artists, and internationally renowned artists are on view. They include some guests from past competitions like Afro Basaldella, Giorgio De Chirico, Lucian Freud, Giorgio Morandi, Georges Rouault, Andy Warhol, Emilio Vedova, Massimo Campigli, and Pablo Picasso. Since 2012, the museum has been recognized as a Museum of Regional Importance.
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