Founded by the Marchese Carlo Ginori in Doccia near Florence in 1737, the Sesto Fiorentino Porcelain Manufactory, which was to become known as Richard Ginori in 1896, is the oldest such manufactory in Italy and is still fully operational.
Marchese Ginori systematically collected the moulds in the workshops that had belonged to sculptors working from the late Renaissance to the Baroque eras, using them to create the models for his superb porcelain sculptures. But at the same time, he purchased models from the workshops of the Florentine sculptors of his own day and commissioned reproductions of the most celebrated Classical statues from them. A sophisticated technique allowed the Doccia kilns to produce monumental porcelain figures that were truly exceptional, both technically and in terms of sheer size.
The collection of models, which was subsequently expanded by Carlo's heirs, is split today between the Richard Ginori works and the museum adjacent to the factory, which has unfortunately been closed since May 2014. This collection of models and porcelain works in the museum is of primary importance for the history of sculpture. Thus Making Beauty. The Ginori Porcelain Manufactory and its Progeny of Statues, which sets out to draw attention to this outstanding heritage, is fittingly hosted in the Bargello, the Kingdom of Italy's first national museum and the most important museum of Italian sculpture in the world.
The exhibition is curated by Tomaso Montanari and Dimitri Zikos with the collaboration of Cristiano Giometti and Marino Marini and in conjunction with Livia Frescobaldi Malenchini and Oliva Rucellai of the Associazione Amici di Doccia.
A lengthy process involving in-depth art historical research and an intense scientific and cultural debate lasting over a year has spawned an exhibition and a catalogue that are very much the fruit of close teamwork.
Thanks to new research focusing on individual case studies, the porcelain statues dialogue in the exhibition both with the Bargello's own exhibits and with sculptures loaned by national and foreign institutions and private collectors, some of them on display in Italy for the very first time.