“Now that you have a room of your own and the children have
grown a bit, will you be painting some?” wrote Fillide Levasti to fellow artist
Leonetta Cecchi in 1920. “If so, now is the time for the lovely part to
begin!”. Two early twentieth-century women painters and their moving personal
letters, hosted at the Marucelliana Library and the Vieusseux’s Contemporary
Archive, have inspired a citywide project for art, restoration and research
whose keynote exhibition Women Artists. Florence 1900-1950 is a sign of their times.
In a Florence filled with female sculptors, painters, illustrators and writers,
Cecchi and Levasti formed part of a fascinating network of creative
friendships. Together with other equally determined women – Evelyn Scarampi,
Vittoria Morelli, Flavia Arlotta, Elisabeth Chaplin, Marisa Mori, Adriana
Pincherle and Elena Salvaneschi – they comprise a formidable legacy that spans literature
and the visual arts, crossing boundaries from painting to page. With their stories
recovered and their art restored, theirs has finally become a journey from
storage to spotlight.