A close coherence between home and collections, between rooms and works of art contained in it: this is the backbone of the rigorous collection and living project that the brothers Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi pursued in their home, inspired by the mansions of the sixteenth century Lombard.
For their palace they made use of numerous sources of inspiration: they cited and reworked examples of excellence to create a filtered Renaissance of nineteenth-century sensibility. In the rooms of the Bagatti Valsecchi house, under the watchful direction of Fausto and Giuseppe, the Renaissance took shape not only through the construction of the fifteenth and sixteenth century collections, but also through the accurate stylistic attunement of which every room in the house was the object. In the fixed furnishings period fragments were inserted (wall friezes, fireplaces, decorative elements, wooden ceilings) while to remedy any gaps present in the settings one intervened with the remaking in style.
In June 2015 the Museum inaugurated a new room: thanks to the design contribution of the Lissoni Associati studio, the meeting room was transformed into a multi-purpose space. From the wardrobe of the spouses Carolina and Giuseppe to the management’s office, the room has changed its use several times finding now a setting that allows it to host exhibitions, meetings, events.
Until March 10th 2019, the room hosts a digital installation of the signature. Stories and characters from the Bagatti Valsecchi guestbook
This room, adjacent to the master bedroom, was the bedroom of Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi, who, according to the use of the aristocratic families of the time, also had his own private room. On the tables are set up, among others, some liturgical objects such as monstrances and sixteenth and sixteenth-century relics, which combine to reinforce the refined and precious atmosphere of this bedroom.
In the double bedroom of Carolina Borromeo and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi stands the large Sicilian wrought iron bed decorated with gold leaf. The sumptuous ensemble of the room offers the backdrop to the beautiful collection of fourteenth and sixteenth-century tables arranged along the walls: among these, the Santa Giustina by Giovanni Bellini stands out, dating back to around 1470. Among the furnishings of this environment we note a group of antique furniture for children, as if to hint at the five children born of the marriage of Giuseppe and Carolina.
Sala della Stufa Valtellinese
The room represents the first room of the apartment of Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi and his wife Carolina Borromeo; it served as a drawing room and owes its name to the wooden cladding applied along the walls belonging to a room in the stove of an ancient house in Sondrio. Above the fireplace, an inscription in Latin freely inspired by a sentence of St. Augustine warns those who thought they could take advantage of a halt before the fire to make gossip: Those who love to speak ill of the absent, know that this hearth is precluded to them.
Bagatti Valsecchi Cabinet
This small room accessible from the Galleria della Cupola is not part of the historic apartments of the Bagatti Valsecchi house, but is a modern arrangement. The room is furnished like a wardrobe, where you can browse through photographs and open drawers containing memorabilia and simple everyday objects to
get acquainted with Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi and with the descendants who continued to inhabit the rooms until 1974.
The Galleria della Cupola owes its name to the dome with a skylight above it. Like the parallel Galleria delle Armi, this environment flanks the great Hall and acts as a link between the two bodies of the Palace, linking Fausto’s apartment with that of his younger brother Giuseppe. On the long tables leaning against the walls are set some of the most important ceramics of the Bagatti Valsecchi collection, among which stands a large vase signed by Ippolito Rombaldoni and dated to 1678.
Passage of the Labyrinth
This environment owes its name to the decoration of the ceiling, inspired by the sixteenth century Stanza del Labirinto in the Ducal Palace of Mantua. On the octagonal table there is a collection of small tools and antique objects, including keys, padlocks and cutlery. The attention of the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers towards applied art objects arose from the conviction that these everyday objects were particularly suitable for their collectibles of domestic character and that they could offer valid reasons for inspiration to modern nineteenth-century artisans.
Bagatti Valsecchi Museum
The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is a historic dwelling located in the heart of the Montenapoleone district , in the center of Milan , in the building called “Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi”, purchased by the Lombardy Region in 1975. It is among the most important and best-preserved museum houses in Europe and it is part of the ” Case Museum of Milan ” circuit since October 2008.
Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi reviewed the typological richness of works of art and artifacts collected together with his brother Fausto, motivating the variety by virtue of the domestic cut of their collecting project to recreate a Renaissance residence. In this context, the same ancient artifacts collected from the passion of the two brothers became everyday objects, used in domestic and everyday life, losing the connotation of historical object.
Preserved in the respect of the nineteenth-century setting, the collections unfold from room to room: in the enveloping rooms of the museum house the antique tables of authors such as Giovanni Bellini, Bernardo Zenale, and Giampietrino find their place next to boxes in tablet, with wooden furnishings, in glass or ceramic artifacts. Beyond its intrinsic value, each work constitutes a piece of the coherent Bagatti Valsecchi project and contributes to defining its spectacular together.
Alongside the four-sixteenth-century artifacts, there are some exceptions to the rule: exemptions perhaps imposed by the limits of the antiquarian market or perhaps, in the case of particularly high-quality artifacts, from the understandable desire not to deprive oneself of works that would have been well figured within the Bagatti Valsecchi house.
With few exceptions, the collection of Bagatti Valsecchi paintings is composed of works on wood from the sixteenth and sixteenth century, mainly referring to the Tuscan, Lombard and, to a lesser extent, Veneto. The sumptuous domestic set-up complements works by great authors – the most famous of which is undoubtedly the Santa Giustina by Giovanni Bellini – to paintings by minor masters, sometimes referable to secluded areas such as the lariana area or the Bergamo valleys. The Neo-Renaissance frames are able to harmonize the works set up in the rooms and transform the doors of dismembered polyptychs – a typology well represented in the collection – into paintings that can be enjoyed by themselves, attenuating the identity of the compartment already inserted in a more articulated work.
Walled reliefs in the courtyards of the Palace or inserted as fixed furnishings inside the dwelling make up the most important nucleus of this collection. Despite the small group of works, problematic artifacts are not lacking both from the attributive point of view and from their chronological definition. The degree of awareness of the two Bagatti Valsecchi brothers with regard to works of which the nineteenth-century realization is still evident, as in the case of the Flagellation of Christ by Alceo Dossena.
The rich collection of furnishings is a fundamental component of the Bagatti Valsecchi collection and living project. Without any foreclosure the two brothers flank reconstitutions with antique fragments or period furniture with four-sixteenth-century furnishings, creating an environment where the overall effect is more important and convincing than the originality of the single piece.
This collection center is composed of liturgical objects and domestic artefacts: crosses, reliquaries, eucharistic vases are placed side by side with enamelled caskets or ancient cutlery, covering a period of time ranging from the Three to the Seventeenth century. The intent of the collection, which is not intended to be complete either from a chronological or typological point of view, is entirely functional to the decoration of the rooms, in which the various artefacts are expertly arranged.
The core of the Bagatti Valsecchi ceramics is mainly made up of sixteenth and seventeenth-century artefacts, although later works are not lacking. Many production centers are represented in a sort of mapping of the main Italian manufacturers: among others, Venice, Pavia, Ferrara, Faenza, Pisa, Montelupo, Urbino, Casteldurante, Pesaro, Deruta, as well as Rome, Gerace, Trapani, Burgio. Numerous pottery came from kits of ancient pharmacies dismembered during the nineteenth century. Compared to the Italian character of the collection, a group of lustres dating from the sixth to the seventeenth century, referable to Valencia and Manises, is an exception.
The collection of ivories by the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers, while collecting heterogeneous objects in chronology, origin and function, includes a compact nucleus of artefacts referable to the Embriachi, a workshop that dominated the production of bone and ivory objects in Italy between the 14th and 15th centuries. Fausto and Giuseppe’s intent was above all to create an antiquarian collection that was also an instrument for the reconstruction of the environment.
Inside the Bagatti Valsecchi residence, the collection of scientific instruments is set up in the Library, an environment for study and reading. In this room, measuring instruments, armillary spheres, an ivory microscope are displayed on the central table, while the superb pair of sixteenth-century globes stands out on their pedestals in style.
Weapons and armor
This rich collecting nucleus is entirely set up in the Galleria delle Armi, an environment of great impact, where the artifacts are arranged on ancient caissons while the arms in the auction and the swords make a fine show of themselves in the racks along the walls. Style and original artifacts stand side by side in the name of a spectacular ensemble effect.
In line with the domestic cut of the Bagatti Valsecchi stand, the glass collection is set up in the windows of the Dining Room; the artifacts are arranged alongside ceramic plates and risers creating a dense score, where works from different eras are freely combined with decorative efficacy. The two brothers’ predilections are oriented towards the Murano production, represented by glasses that are arranged along a wide chronological arc, from the four to the nineteenth century.