French-born street artist JR has placed a massive, black-and-white image over the front facade of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, making it seem as if the cultural building has been ripped open and its interiors revealed. 

Called “La Ferita” (“The Wound”), the work scales the three-story, 15th century palace and reflects its interiors with its arches and courtyard. The monochrome design, which contrasts with the building’s golden, rusticated stone facade, also has a touch of surrealism, as JR has inserted both Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera and his Birth of Venus paintings that are actually housed at Florence’s Uffizi Galleries.

The piece is commentary on the coronavirus pandemic, as the galleries of the Palazzo Strozzi are currently closed to visitors, and Italy has been in yet another lockdown since March 15. Yet it marks the launch of Florence’s new contemporary art initiative, the Palazzo Strozzi Future Art Program.

“It is apt that we launch the program with JR's new work 'La Ferita,' a powerful reflection on the difficult conditions surrounding access to culture in the age of Covid-19, but also a symbol of freedom, creative imagination and participation and an opportunity to involve the audience, the public at large, in a totally new way,” said Arturo Galansino, the director general of Palazzo Strozzi, as reported in The Art Newspaper.