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Waterbones (Climbing)
Photo © Adriana Pagliai
Photo © Adriana Pagliai

A walk through the contemporary artwork of Prato

A tour from the historic center to the outskirts to discover Prato's art

Prato Area
by  Prato Area

In recent years, Prato has become an important European reference point for contemporary art: in addition to the famous  Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, there are other works of art by Italian and international artists spread throughout the historic center and the suburbs. Here is a tour to discover the great wealth of art that Prato can offer.

Centre d'art contemporain Luigi Pecci
Centro per L'arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci - Credit: Marco Badiani

The walk starts from the contemporary art museum, near which (on the roundabout between Viale della Repubblica and Via Catani) is the iron sculpture by Eliseo Mattiacci "Reflection of the cosmic order".

The first stop in the historic center is San Marco Square, where the famous work by Henry Moore, Square Form with cut, has stood in the small garden since 1974, becoming a symbol of the city. Its lock-like shape indicates the gateway to the city, a door from the past to the present. From here you reach Porta Frascati, near which stands the Mazzocchio, a work made of steel tubes in 1994 by Ben Jacober and Yannik Vu. The work represents the factor that divided artists at the end of the fifteenth century into two camps: those who could draw in perspective and those who could not.

Forma Squadrata con Taglio di Henry Moore
Forma Squadrata con Taglio di Henry Moore - Credit: Sansa55
Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II di Jacques Lipchitz
Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II di Jacques Lipchitz - Credit: Ivan D'Alì

A principal spot on the urban art route is the Campolmi complex, in the courtyard of the Lazzerini Library, where you will find "The beast" by Bassiri, a bronze sculpture on a travertine base, as well as "Waterbones Climbing in Transition State ", a sparkling structure by Loris Cecchini.

Near the Emperor's Castle, in Piazza Santa Maria in Castello you can admire the "Great Dreamer" by Fabrizio Corneli, a truly evocative installation of light and shadow created in 2014 as part of the "Prato Contemporanea" event. Continuing from the Castle up to Piazza del Comune, by the staircase into Palazzo Pretorio you can admire the impressive bronze sculpture "Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II" by Jacques Lipchitz. The Palazzo Museum houses 21 sculptures in plaster, a bronze and 43 drawings by the Lithuanian artist that were donated in 2013 by the Jacques and Yulla Lipchitz Foundation and by Hanno Mott.

The city tour continues to Piazza Ciardi where one can see: Count Up by Alessandra Andrini (Monument to the resistance, 2009, University Square) and The missing link to the chain that does not exist by Marco Bagnoli, dated 2016.

Outside the walls, not far from the center, along Viale Galilei is the Anthropomorphic figure for the Elba Island by Vittorio Tavernari and, near the Datini Bridge, the large bronze sculpture “Biting pole - Paalbijter” produced by Gijs Assmann in 2005. The highly realistic work is linked to the themes of memory and Vanitas which come from the Dutch art of the seventeenth century.

Opposite the Pecci Museum is the famous sculpture, Exegi monumentum aere perennius, by Anne and Patrick Poirier, which has become a symbol of the city. The structure represents "the changing fortunes of civilization" and the upheaval of foundations that we have experienced in our recent history on a global scale. Meanwhile, in the gardens of Via Carlo Marx, there is a marble sculpture by Giò Pomodoro dedicated to Pablo Neruda entitled Isla Negra.

Not far from Prato, don't miss the Quinto Martini Park Museum in Carmignano, a beautiful green space with paths that wind through 36 bronze statues made by Martini.

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