Pietro Maria Bardi

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Pietro Maria Bardi (La Spezia, February 21, 1900 – São Paulo, October 10, 1999) was an Italian writer, curator and collector, mostly known for being the Founding Director of the São Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil.

Bardi started his career in the 1920s as a journalist, writing about art and architecture for newspapers like Gazzetta di Genova and Corriere della Sera.

He visited Brazil for the first time in 1933 and permanently relocated in São Paulo in 1946 with his wife, architect Lina Bo Bardi. In 1947 he co-founded with Assis Chateaubriand the São Paulo Museum of Art, whom he directed until 1996, stirring the Brazilian artistic community with his ideas about popularizing museums by making both modern and classical art more accessible. Hand-in-hand with this idea, he developed the concept of an open, wide exhibition space where paintings were fixed to acrylic pedestals, thus making the whole space visible at once and the works seemingly suspended in space. The substitution of traditional walls for the acrilic pedestals became a big point of debate.

He died in São Paulo in 1999, four months before his 100th birthday.