“Ars et Ingenium – Toward Leonardo da Vinci’s Legacy of Similitude and Invention”

the XIIth Florence Biennale is part of the 2019 programme of initiatives aimed at celebrating the genius and art of Leonardo da Vinci


Dialogue through art amongst people with different cultural backgrounds has been one of the fundamental principles of Florence Biennale since its foundation, a new insight into that fascinating world will surface at the the XIIth edition of the International Contemporary Art Biennial of Florence, to be held at the Fortezza da Basso from 18 to 27 October 2022.

“Contributing to a cross-cultural dialogue and promoting respect and tolerance between peoples through Art and Culture in their many forms, in order to pursue a Sustainable Future.”

XIIth FLORENCE BIENNALE – Design Unveiling

Making such a choice means responding to the stimuli from many artists who have participated in the past editions of our biennial and are multi-talented individuals working also in the fields of architecture and/or design, especially in graphic design and other major clusters of the so-called creative industries. In the newly unveiled Florence Biennale DESIGN Pavilion, light will be shed on breakthrough projects envisaging old and new technology, and competing in six contest categories, namely Architecture & Town Design, Industrial & Product Design, Interior Design, Fashion & Jewellery Design, Communication & Graphic Design, and Technology & Game Design. Indeed, the Design exhibition, to be set up by a renowned studio of architecture and design, represents an attempt to showcase new ideas for innovation and development while fostering values such as aesthetics and sustainability, already promoted within the previous edition of the Florence Biennale.

The projects presented will be examined by an International Jury of design
experts. The XIIth Florence Biennale is part of the 2022 programme of initiatives aimed at celebrating the genius and art of Leonardo da Vinci. By unveiling the Design pavilion in his native town, the Florence Biennale also remembers his imagination and experimental approach to designing achines, devices, and new inventions – some of which were so pioneering that they would have aroused amazement for five hundred years since his death.

The essential part of the theme of the XIIth Florence Biennale may thus be interpreted giving novel meaning to the wording “Ars et Ingenium”. In their own right, these words would have conveyed much broader meaning to the early humanists, who would also attribute cosmological significance to them. On the stage of contemporaneity, however, we have dared to indulge in a lay on words to allude to the “Art + Design” binomial which we are showcasing this year for the first time.

Fortezza da Basso

The Fortezza da Basso is a Renaissance masterpiece of military architecture, built between 1534 and 1537, and is the main centre for exhibitions in Florence since 1967. Strategically located in the historical centre of Florence, Fortezza da Basso is the perfect venue for events of high artistic value, and its evocative charm recalls the splendour of the Medici governance: a unique location, combining historic buildings and modern pavilions such as the Spadolini Pavilion, where the Florence Biennale takes place.

Veduta da mastio

The XIIth FLORENCE BIENNALE will take place inside the Fortezza da Basso in more than 12.000 sqm of exhibiting space, plus the outdoors areas, dedicated to Special Projects and Collateral Events, giving artists and visitors the opportunity to live a unique experience in an immersive atmosphere among creative people coming from over 70 countries.

International Exhibition

Founded in 1997 by artist Pasquale Celona and his brother Piero, and now directed by the young Jacopo Celona, the Florence Biennale is a unique opportunity for our city to have an insight into contemporary art. During the days of the biennial, the city once ruled by the Medici gathers hundreds of artists from around the world. Such an exhibition, adding to the context of Florence and Tuscany, also attracts a wide audience for its rich collateral
events programme including special shows, lectures, conferences, performances and didactic initiatives.
All this offers artists and visitors an opportunity to meet and discuss various aspects of art and culture while seeing interpretations of the theme of the current edition. Today Florence looks forward to its future as a protagonist of the contemporary art scene, and it is also thanks to the far-seeing commitment of Pasquale and Piero Celona, who worked with art critics and
curators with a view to offer talented professional artists the opportunity to exhibit their artworks within an independent event, the Florence Biennale. This year, with Jacopo Celona’s managing direction and Dr. Melanie efferino’s curation, this important exhibition has come to its XIIth edition, and has thus consolidated further its significance in the contemporary art scene.

Eugenio Giani
President of Regional Council of Tuscany


In particular, the theme of the XIIth Florence Biennale will focus on Leonardo’s multifaceted being: an outstanding artist, he was also ‘scientist’ committed to exploring nature in order to grasp the knowledge spanning different disciplines of comparative anatomy, botany, geology, physics, and intertwining cosmology with his studies on light, and more besides. In his letter to Ludovico Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, he boasts of his ability to represent anything in form of ‘of marble, bronze, and clay sculpture, and similiter in pictura’, Leonardo thrived in synthesising visual and structural elements because he also was a skilled architect and engineer. He designed mobile bridges, buildings and channels as well as breakthrough artillery, pyrotechnic effects, and a wide variety of devices. Indeed, we may well cherish the fantasy of some of Leonardo’ inventions evokedin the artistry and imagination of artists from around the world participating in the XIIth Florence Biennale, thus exhibiting their works at the Fortezza da Basso.

Dr. Melanie Zefferino Curator of the XIIth Florence Biennale


They are the core and engine of the exhibition, as confirmed by thousands of national and international exhibitors’ application forms which are evaluated by the International Selection Committee (ISC) and the Curatorial Board. Selection guidelines are focused on the quality of works and curricula of candidates. Consequently, exhibitors get the opportunity to present and promote themselves at their best in a prestigious framework.
In fact, Florence Biennale is a global stage giving visitors the opportunity to admire works often coming from public spaces of the world capitals or exhibited in some of the most important contemporary art museums, foundations and private collections all over the world.



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Anton G.
Anton joined Architecture Lab in 2017 and ever since the platform grew exponentially becoming the global reference point in design for creatives around the world, ranging from DIY enthusiasts to interior designers, architects, engineers illustrator and design amateurs.
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Anton received UAUIM's Master of Architecture in 2017 with an emphasis on Restauration and Industrial Heritage.
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