When Casa Martelli was acquired by the Italian state about twenty years ago, the walls were almost empty and the cabinets emptied. The then director Monica Bietti tells Sky TG24 that works had already been stolen from the picture gallery after the unification of Italy, when the financial crisis of the Martelli became more serious.
Some of these masterpieces are legitimately found in Berlin such as Bronzino’s portrait of Ugolino Martelli, or in Washington and Amsterdam. They were expatriates before the Protection Law, or were exchanged with the permission of the Superintendency. Many, however, despite meticulous inventories drawn up and drawn up by the Martelli over the centuries, have simply vanished. Not only the paintings, but also all the objects of common life, from clothes to porcelain, from tablecloths to jewelry. Yet these rooms were lived in, in richness and decadence, from the seventeenth century to 1986 when Francesca, the last of the Martelli, died.
The treasure hunt
The Friends of the Museums of Palazzo Davanzati and Casa Martelli Association has launched this research on an international scale in which everyone, not from scholars and specialists, can participate through the digital platform www.casamartellifirenze.it. An important element for the research is the Rampant Griffin – suggests Paola D’agostino – Director of the Bargello Museums – the coat of arms of the Casato, attributed to Donatello or Desiderio da Settignano, which was applied to the services, to the coats of arms for the exterior as well as to many works.
The research project of lost objects and works aims to reconstruct the identity of this aristocratic family. The richer a house-museum is, the more it can communicate the history of its inhabitants. Anyone with news, memories, images and objects will be able to collaborate, even if only virtually. The goal is to reconstruct the troubled history of the family. To reconnect the thread of history. Reporting them – underlines Monica Bietti – will not create any problems for the owners.