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The exhibition

Steve McCurry is one of the greatest masters of contemporary photography and a reference for a vast audience. Young people, especially, find in his photos a way of looking at our time.

Steve McCurry - Icons is an exhibition that collects more than 100 shots, perhaps the best of the photographer's vast production. It offers to the visitors a symbolic trip into the complex world of experiences and emotions that McCurry’s images stand for: his journeys to India, and then to Afghanistan, the native country of Sharbat Gula, the girl who became an absolute icon of world photography, the girl McCurry met and photographed in a camp in Peshawar, Afghanistan, many years ago.

With his photos, Steve McCurry puts us in direct contact with the most remote ethnic groups and the most diverse social scenarios, underlining a human condition made by universal feelings and glances proudly affirming the same dignity. Looking at his pictures the visitors can cross borders and closely know a world destined to great changes. Indeed, the exhibition starts with an extraordinary series of portraits and develops among images of war and poetry, of suffering and joy, of wonder and irony.

The venue

The museum was established as an art gallery in the 1920s, but the development of its rich art collection, which can also be retraced from a documentary point of view, had begun many centuries before. The city government, indeed, was involved in the enrichment of its artistic collection since the XVI century, when works were commissioned to famous artists, with the aim to decorate and improve the importance to the Town Hall.

The starting point, of course, was Piero della Francesca’s "Resurrection", icon and symbol of Sansepolcro, that since 1460 ca. frescoes the Conservatori hall of Palazzo della Residenza, a work described by the English writer Aldous Huxley as "the most beautiful painting in the world". Thanks to this illustrious precedent, the government triggered an innovative collecting phenomenon open to the public.

In the second half of the XVI century, in order to make the Palace's symbolic value more and more clear, the City asked the Bassanos, famous Venetian painters actively working in Sansepolcro, to decorate the Chapel of the Residenza, and acquired works by Raffaellino del Colle and Leonardo Cungi.

In the XVII century, during a visit of Leopold II, the earlier collection was increased with the transfer of Cherubino Alberti’s famous engravings from the nearby Praetorian Palace.

In the wake of these prestigious precedents, in 1846 the City decided to place in the same spaces the St. Louis fresco, detached from the Praetorian Palace's walls.

Following the Leopoldine and Napoleonic suppression of religious orders, between the late XVIII and the first decade of the XIX centuries, the museum collection became a sort of experimental and rough art gallery. The growing desire to preserve and protect the city's artistic heritage pushed the transfer to the rooms of Palazzo della Residenza of works that were risking "the danger of decay". This was especially meant for the paintings in the churches of St. Chiara and St. Augustine and the polyptych "Our Lady of Mercy", which became part of the Municipal Art Gallery in 1901.

In the course of the new century, a deep culture of conservation spread through Sansepolcro, so effective that the art gallery team decided to call experts who, together with the literary fortune of Piero (Roberto Longhi, Mario Salmi, Kenneth Clark and Rudolf Wittkower), proved a growing interest in the Valtiberina area. Over the years, the general enthusiasm was validated by the discovery, and the later transfer to the museum's rooms, of the "St. Julian". Then, in 1975, thank to the co-operation between the City of Sansepolcro, the Superintendence of Arezzo and the Regione Toscana, a new museum was inaugurated, with larger exhibition spaces due to the restoration of rooms on the top floor and in the basement.


Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic figures in contemporary photography for more than thirty years. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McCurry studied cinematography at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a newspaper. After two years, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.

It was after several months of travel that he crossed the border into Pakistan. In a small village he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian invasion was closing the country to Western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after months embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry made his way over the Pakistan border with his film sewn into his clothes. McCurry's images were among the first to show the world the brutality of the Russian invasion.

Since then, McCurry has gone on to create unforgettable images over six continents and numerous countries. His body of work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.

McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest amongst dozens of others.


Steve McCurry. Icons

Date: from 28th June to 4th March 2018

Venue: Museo Civico Sansepolcro, Via Niccolò Aggiunti, 65

Opening hours: from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2.30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Tickets: Admission ticket for the exhibition.
Standard € 10.00
Discounted € 8.50 for groups of minimum 10 people, visitors from 19 to 25 years, and special agreements;
Special discounted € 4.00 ticket for visitors from 11 to 18 years;
Free admission for children under 10, disabled, accredited journalists

Informazioni: Tel. 199151121



Press office

Comune di Sansepolcro



Ombretta Roverselli
Tel. +39 0243353527

Barbara Izzo
Tel. 06 692050220


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The info contained in this site shall inure to the benefit of the visitors of the site and the exhibition "Steve McCurry - Icons" with no further commercial purposes. The images in this site are protected by the Law on Copyright. The use of images and texts contained therein is allowed only for promotion, communication and press office activities explicitly linked to the exhibition "Steve McCurry - Icons" set up in Sansepolcro at the Museo Civico (June 28th - January 8th, 2018). The use of images and texts is subject to compliance with the prohibition of manipulation and / or alteration of the same and with the obligation to quote the author, the title and the copyright statute.

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