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May 10, 2011

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The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, home to a vast collection of Renaissance masterpieces by Giotto, Leonardo, Raphaeland just about every other artist of note, is catching up to the contemporary art world. A few months ago, the gallery put on display donated self-portraits by three Japanese artists -- Yayoi Kusama, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Tadanori Yokoo -- and this fall, the gallery is presenting a show of works by the Italian Neo-Expressionist painter Francesco Clemente. [Image: Francesco Clemente by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.]

Opening Sept. 8, 2011, Clemente's exhibition fills two galleries, one devoted to drawings, and the second to a series of self-portraits in which Clemente depicts himself as each one of the 12 apostles. Clemente has also been invited to place his own portrait in the Uffizi's Vasari Corridor. The private enclosed passageway from the Palazzo Vecchio across the Arno to the Palzzo Pitti, designed by Giorgio Vasari and built by Duke Cosimo di Medici in 1565, is now a picture gallery lined with the Uffizi's collection of artist's self-portraits, and not typically open to tourists.

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