The art of Joan Mirò on display at Palazzo della Corgna in Castiglione del Lago
“Ubu Roi” (1966)
The art exhibition is visible until the November 4th inside the rooms of the noble building designed by Vignola and Galeazzo Alessi, which is named after the Marquis della Corgna. The exposition is curated by Andrea Pontalti, promoted by the municipality of Castiglione del Lago and organised by Sistema Museo and Lagodarte in collaboration with Aurora Group.
The vision of Mirò
The event gives the opportunity to discover this wonderful artist through seventy graphic works that are part of four complete sets. They were created during a period of ten years: from 1966 to 1976, in the artist’s maturity. Ubu Roi (1966) is composed of thirteen colourful lithographs, in which shapes and volumes seem to move freely in the space. Furthermore, Le Lézard aux Plumes d’Or (1971), Maravillas con variaciones acrósticas en el jardin de Miró (1975) might be admired in the spaces of the palaces: work arts characterized by black marks and vivid colours. Another remarkable work is Le Marteau sans maître (1976), a tribute to the poet René Chair, one of the most distinguished personalities of the twentieth-century French literature. These art works tell the artist’s poetic dream and its peculiarity, which consists of transforming the fantastical images into a personal language. These lithographs show the relationship between text and illustration that characterize that artistic phase: a book is something that has to be carved in the marble – in the artist’s opinion.
An immersion in colours
The use of colour and the very personal world of marks derives from the Mirò’s approach to the world of art: his curiosity, the capacity of renewing himself and of exploring different paths. The dark marks and the bright colours, from blue to yellow give life to personal dream visions. Visiting the exhibition means immersing yourself in the language of the extraordinary Catalan artist thanks to less known art works, but which offer an important glimpse of his expressive power.
«… between the south and the west / along the lake lies Castiglione, protruding / like a head or a peninsula over its waters, of its castle and towers / and of its fertile olive trees, proud» (Assunta Pieralli, Il Lago Trasimeno)
Castiglione del Lago «lies on a limestone promontory that, surrounded on three sides by water, projects out for half a kilometre over Lake Trasimeno like a large ship ready to sail».
Polvese Island, photo by Enrico Mezzasoma
It has very ancient origins and it was inhabited even in the Upper Palaeolithic, as evidenced by some archaeological finds like the Trasimeno Venus. The pile dwellings in the area date from the Neolithic when «Lake Trasimeno was much larger and its waters were not contained […] by hills and terraces» and «Castiglione was an island, the fourth largest on the Trasimeno». The history of the settlement begins with the Etruscans though, who turned Castiglione del Lago into a colony and called it Clusium Novum. Evidence that it was inhabited in the Etruscan period is given by the remains of a temple dedicated to the goddess Celati. It then fell under Roman domination and «history has it that the Romans considered cutting the isthmus to make it impregnable, but they abandoned the idea and the place was left as it was».
There aren’t any other historical records until the year 776 when Charlemagne returns Clusium Novum to Pope Adrian. Its possession, including the entire lake and the three islands, is passed on to Pope Paschal I in 817 by Louis the Pious. In 995, Otto III gave Castiglione del Lago to Perugia.
Photo by Enrico Mezzasoma
For a long time, because of its strategic position, it was contended between the cities of Perugia, Arezzo and Siena until 1100 when it was eventually taken over by Perugia which turned it into a defensive stronghold. Around the middle of the 13th century, Emperor Frederick II built huge walls to defend the settlement, transforming what was just a little castle into an actual stronghold that he called Castello del Leone, probably the origin of its current name.
From 1416 to 1424, the settlement was ruled by Braccio Fortebracci and at his death, it passed to Martin V. In 1488, it was taken over by the degli Oddi family who controlled it until the Count of Pitigliano, a Florentine general who was stationed in Camucia, decreed that they returned Castiglione del Lago to Perugia. Its Signoria was offered to the Baglioni family though after they paid 800 gold ducats to the count. After the Baglioni family, its rule passed to the Papal States until 1554 when Pope Julius III offered Castiglione del Lago to Francesco della Corgna and to Ascanio, son of Francesco and Giacoma del Monte, the pope’s sister. Under the rule of the della Corgna family, who kept Castiglione del Lago until 1645, the village became a marquisate first and then a duchy, changing its urban structure and mutating into what it is today. Definitively passed under the rule of the State of the Church, it stayed in its possession until the Unification of Italy.
Palazzo della Corgna or Palazzo Ducale
Bought by the town in 1870, it currently houses its town hall. Originally, it was built as a tower‑house for the Baglioni family who even had Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci as their guests. In 1563, Ascanio della Corgna acquired the title of marquess and began some works to completely turn it into a small palace. The palace was built from plans drawn up by Vignola and Alessi. It was built on four levels. The lowest contained cellars and stables, the kitchens and storage areas were in the basement, above them was the main floor while the top floor contained the bedrooms. It is embellished by frescoes by Niccolò Circignani, known as Pomarancio, and Salvio Savini that celebrate the glory of the della Corgnas through mythical depictions and representations of their deeds.
It was built by Frederick II of Swabia who began its construction in 1247 from plans drawn up by Friar Elia Coppi from Cortona. It has an irregular pentagonal structure with four towers at the corners (two of which were coeval with the fortress, while the other two were built in the 15th and 16th centuries to replace the previous ones that had been destroyed) and a triangular keep of about 39 metres of height. Palazzo della Corgna is connected to the first gate of the fortress through a raised walkway. It is one of the most interesting examples of mediaeval architecture in Umbria and in the 15th century it was considered to be almost impregnable.
It belongs to the Town of Castiglione del Lago and it is the largest island on the Trasimeno. In 1973 it was acquired by the Province of Perugia and today it’s home to a scientific-didactic park, part of Lake Trasimeno Regional Park. The name of the island probably derives from the term polvento, downwind. It is certain that the territory was inhabited by the Etruscans and the Romans. The oldest historical record dates back to 817 when the island is mentioned by Louis the pious who gives Lake Trasimeno and its three islands to Pope Paschal I.
One of Balzac’s porttraits displayed in the exhibition in Castiglione del Lago
In order to remember the centennial of Pablo Picasso’s trip in Italy, in Castiglione del Lago has been organized an exhibition of more than ninety works made by the artists.
Inside the beautiful Della Corgna Palace, until November 5th, will be displayed Honoré de Balzac’s portraits, etching and aquatint illustrations, graver-carved tables, sculptures and ceramic work of arts.