by curator Mila Sturm

The evening that Dario Cecchini came to ask me to help him curate Panzano Arte, I had a premonitory dream.

My dream wasn’t quite accurate chronologically: Lorenzo the Magnificent had come to Panzano in Chianti in the company of Dante Alighieri and art critic Luciano Pistoi. All three were walking down a path discovering the 21st century sculptures that were dotted around the stunning village of Panzano.

What my dream did encapsulate perfectly though, is the very essence of Panzano Arte: To present art that highlights a modern form of humanism. Works that aim to deepen our understanding of cultural and spiritual questions. Works that talk about freedom, free-thinking and human rights.

These ideas all follow in the footsteps of the values of the Renaissance. They also echo the famous exhibitions of the Eighties by eminent art critic and gallerist Luciano Pistoi in the neighbouring village of Volpaia. These exhibitions had already established a rich creative dialogue between contemporary art and the Tuscan countryside.

Nathalie Decoster is the obvious choice as the first guest artist of Panzano Arte. The modern day humanism of her work embodies all the values that are dear to Panzano Arte. Her chosen themes – as summed up in the emblematic sculpture of a stylised walking man inside a circle, “The Messenger” – address the question of the human condition and its fragility, the passing of time and the desire to reach a state of serenity.

There is also her personality: Nathalie Decoster is a nomadic artist, whose career has developed with the projects she selects with the utmost care on the basis of their meaning and impact.


Nathalie Decoster takes a keen interest in others. She is always seeking to share experiences. Dialogue is indeed a vital part of her approach. The idea of thinking things through together, of moving forwards, of venturing into unknown territories. She is a free spirit and has a lot in common with the humanists of the Renaissance.
And finally, I admit that the idea of inviting a woman to be the standard bearer of this first edition was an added bonus.

I’d like to thank Nathalie from the bottom of my heart for having accepted this invitation to the first edition of Panzano Arte. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better artist to represent the event.