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A Parallel Museum

by Claudia Bottini

There is a significant body of art work which has been acquired by foundations and banking institutions, creating a “quasi-parallel museum” as defined by Vittorio Sgarbi in the catalogue and in the video that welcomes visitors at the entrance of the exhibition at the Palazzo Baldeschi in Corso Vannucci in Perugia, which was inaugurated on the 11th April and runs until the 15th of September.

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Treasures which have been preserved in ancient stately palaces partially used as museums and are now accessible to the general public. There are 100 selected works among the approximately 13 thousand available, including paintings and sculptures, ranging ‘from Giotto to Morandi’ within the bank collections, with the objective of compensating for a lack on the part of the State in bringing together public, municipal, provincial or regional authority collections. A fundamental heritage asset that, with its variety and temporal layers, may be considered as the historical and cultural face of different Italian regions.

The exhibition, which opens this year, celebrates the 25-year anniversary of the creation of banking foundations and is being promoted by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia and organised by the Fondazione CariPerugia Arte with contributions from Unicredit. The exhibition is an incentive aimed at attracting visitors to the Umbria region following the earthquake in 1997and for this reason part of the income from the exhibition will be devoted to the restoration of historic-artistic heritage assets that were damaged at the time. Another reason to visit this “museum of museums”, which begins in the hall, is the precious tondo of St Francis of Assisi by Giotto, painted in c.1315, in the style of the frescoes of the Cappella degli Scrovegni.

It is a chronological history, leading us through seven centuries of art works through the Masters, some well-known, others less so, belonging to the main “schools”; among the many names exhibited are: Beato Angelico, Perugino, Pinturicchio, Matteo da Gualdo, Dosso Dossi, Ludovico Carracci, Giovanni Francesco Guerreri, Ferraù Fanzoni, Giovanni Lanfranco, Guercino, Guido Cagnacci, Pietro Novelli, Giovanni Domenico Cerrini, Mattia Preti, Luca Giordano. The Nineteenth century is represented by the works of Piccio, Giovanni Fattori, Giuseppe De Nittis, and Giuseppe Pelizza da Volpedo. There is a small but wonderful portrait of woman by Giovanni Boldini, sinuously wrapped in a dress made using quick brush strokes and soft colours.

Among the contemporary works, I was happy to rediscover one of the dissolved faces by Medardo Rosso, sitting next to the smooth marble of the Symbolist, Adolfo Wildt.  There are works by Vincenzo Gemito as well as a masterpiece of the Roman School by Scipione, The Octopus (The molluscs, Pierina has arrived in a big city).  What is also striking is the inevitable comparison between the shattered bottles and the quick brush strokes used in a large, dead nature landscape by Filippo de Pisis alongside the contemplative paintings by Giorgio Morandi.

The journey concludes with two splendid plasters by Quirino Ruggeri, and the monumental “Madre e figlio” (Mother and son) by Carlo Carrã in 1934, just one of the works that marks the “Return to Order” of this Master of Futurism, which we are happy has been placed near our Gerardo Dottori.

It is an exhibition that is worthwhile seeing (and not just for the beneficial intent and reduced ticket prices!) as, at times, numerous works of art are not allowed adequate space to shine; they are placed too close together or hidden in corners, while instead they deserve for their beauty to be illuminated and admired by all.

The exhibition catalogue (Italian/English), curated by Vittorio Sgarbi and Pietro Di Natale, is published by Fabrizio Fabbri Editore.

Opening hours are: from Tuesday to Friday from 15.00 to 19.30; Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 to 19.30. Closed on Mondays. Ticket prices: Full price: 6 Euros; Concessions:  4 Euros (groups of more than 10 people; over 65s; students over the age of 18). Entrance is free for students up to the age of 18. Visitors will find discounted parking rates at the Saba-Saba car parking facility on Piazza Partigiani at a discounted parking rate for the first two hours.

For more information please go to www.fondazionecariperugiaarte.it;

tel. 075. 5734760.

 

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Claudia Bottini

Curatrice e Storica dell'arte

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