In a podcast with Bendor Grosvenor last week (still being edited), he asked me what I thought of the decision by Eike Schmidt to lend Raphael’s portrait of Pope Leo X to the Raphael exhibition in Rome against the advice of his scientific committee. I hadn’t, to be honest, noticed it, but I had registered his plan, described in more detail in today’s FT (see below), to redistribute many of the Uffizi’s paintings in store to their original homes in the Tuscan countryside in order to stimulate regional tourism.
This seems to me one of the more interesting initiatives to come out of COVID: to reverse the historically centralising tendencies of museums and to prefer works of art to be seen in situ than in store. It could not work in quite the same way in the UK, but does prompt interesting ideas. The National Trust has said that it will reduce access to its houses, but could it not do more to promote its art collection (eg Upton House) ? The British Museum must have a mass of work which could be better seen closer to where it was originally found, not just Sutton Hoo. Could Oliver Dowden do more to promote regional museums and tourism through extra funding ? Could there be a national redistributive cultural scheme ?
https://on.ft.com/2NA16Wc via @FT