Mario Luzi

International “Lorenzo il Magnifico” Award for Culture 1999

Mario Luzi was a renowned Italian writer and poet who was shortlisted numerous times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Among his many works, his essays and writings on art are particularly significant for the art world. He also wrote many poems that are tied to or influenced by specific works of art.

During the second edition of the Florence Biennale, when he received the Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Contributions to Culture, the writer hosted a presentation of his book Luzi the Art Critic.

Mario Luzi was born in Castello, near Florence, in 1914, and he received a degree in French literature, writing his thesis on Mauriac. Starting in 1935 he began to collaborate with Frontespizio, Bagellini’s magazine, and then he also worked with the magazines Letteratura and Campo di Marte.

It was from the environment surrounding Frontespizio that 1930s Florentine hermeticism first began to emerge. This movement saw the participation of many famous authors such as Montale, Vittorini, Landolfi, Bo, Gatto, Contini, and Pratolini. La Barca, his very first collection, was published in 1935. It was followed by Avvento notturno, Quaderno Gotico, Primizie del deserto, Onore del vero, Il giusto della vita, Nel magma (which marked Luzi’s transition from poet as ‘voice’ to poet as ‘person’), Dal fondo delle campagne, Su fondamenti invisibili, Al fuoco della controversia, Semiserie, Il silenzio, La voce, Per il battesimo dei nostri frammenti, and Viaggio terrestre e celeste di Simone Martini, just to mention some of his collections of poetry.

In 2004, at the age of ninety, he was made Senatore a Vita (senator for life) of the Italian Republic, after having been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature.