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On the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Dante Alighieri's birth (1265-1321), the Italian Cultural Institute wishes to honor Italy's greatest poet by presenting, for the first time in the United States, Dante's Portrait, a masterpiece by mid-16th-century painter Bronzino; and by holding a continuous reading of the Divine Comedy's first Cantica, the Inferno.

American-Italian actor, writer and director John Turturro will open the night, by reading the first Canto.

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A painting that was “targeted for removal” from the collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh won a last-minute reprieve after a technical examination determined that it was not a “modern fake”, but a 16th-century Florentine portrait that was significantly “tarted up” in the 19th century.

“I was convinced it was a total modern fake,” says Lulu Lippincott, the institution’s curator of fine arts, referring to what was purportedly a portrait of Eleanor of Toledo by the Italian Mannerist Bronzino. “One look at the picture and I thought, ‘you’ve got to be kidding—this is not a Bronzino’,” she says. Convinced that the work was not the Old Master it claimed to be, Lippincott sent the picture to the conservation studio with a note asking Ellen Baxter, the museum’s chief conservator, to confirm that it was a fake.

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