“Pictures from an exhibition. Stefano Arienti interprets art in Mantua in the twentieth century” is an installation imagined by Stefano Arienti, from Mantua, one of the most important contemporary Italian artists, as a tribute to the city and the art of Mantua of the twentieth century. From 23 April to 26 June 2016 for the first time around 300 works by local artists or artists active in Mantua, previously kept in the Civic Museum’s depots, are exhibited in the Palazzo Te Fruttiere.
Palazzo Te, on the outskirts of Mantua, a treasure trove of unique Renaissance treasures such as the Sala dei Giganti by Giulio Romano, born as a place of leisure and country residence of the Gonzagas, maintains the charm of space detached from the city and its centrality, allowing the contemplation of different, wider landscapes. It will be for this vocation to look at the horizon with broad views, that the idea of opening the Fruttiere, its space already used for temporary exhibitions, for contemporary art projects seems to be perfectly inserted into the nature of this environment. To open the new cycle of exhibitions was called Stefano Arienti, one of the most important Mantuan artists on the contemporary scene, who decided to set up a tribute exhibition to his city and to the art of the 1900s.
“The project stems from the suggestion of the ancient paintings that become the starting point for a single great artistic installation. The paintings hanging on the walls are pieces of a game that proliferates on the walls in shapes that grow and change, building a sort of mural painting made up of paintings and frames ”. This is the explanation that Arienti himself gave to his speech, which saw the poor storage of about 300 works donated to the Municipality and deposited in the basement of Palazzo Te, exhibited for the first time in this artistic operation titled Quadri da un ‘exposure. Stefano Arienti interprets art in Mantua in the twentieth century, which will remain open until June 26 ,as part of the initiatives for Mantova, the Italian Capital of Culture. They are paintings by 147 twentieth-century Mantuan artists, from Guindani to Lomini, from Defendi Semeghini to Nodari Pesenti, Giorgi and Bergonzoni.
Therefore, the exhibition is in fact an artistical installation created by Arienti that placed on the walls, with playful solutions sometimes unstable equilibrium, a considerable quantity of works of different types and periods. Guided by his habitual poetic approach, he created an exhibition in which the works are arranged on unusual lines and force the visitor’s gaze to perceive separate bodies as unique bodies. The artist, who always starts from the exploration of the reality closest to him as in this case, creates serial compositions, and everyday life is his main source of inspiration, from which he takes cues, opportunities and with simple variations transfers into innovative forms. ” Mattia Palazzi, inaugurating the exhibition – Now we will study the way to exhibit those works permanently. ”
The civic collection of modern and contemporary art
The collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings referring to the Mantuan art of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries kept at the Palazzo Te deposits, was formed in over seventy years of donations and assignments from artists, relatives and heirs of the artists and bodies public.
His story is intertwined both with the ancient aspiration of Mantua to have a permanent gallery of modern art, and with the exhibitions dedicated to the artistic culture of the territory that from the beginning of the twentieth century have followed each other gradually over the decades, and, finally, with the birth and evolution of the Palazzo Te Civic Museum.
Of a “nascent Gallery of Modern Art in Mantua” mention is made already in 1916 in the words of Umberto Boccioni, invited to review the Mantuan Art Exhibition at Palazzo Ducale on the pages of the weekly Avvenimenti. Praising the Mantuan peers and painter friends of the “generation of the Eighties”, Vindizio Nodari Pesenti, Bresciani from Gazoldo, Moretti Foggia, Guindani, Monfardini and Lomini, particularly celebrates Vindizio’s Spring Awakening, noting that “it would be bad if the nascent Mantua’s Gallery of Modern Art if you let it escape ”.
Successive initiatives aimed at giving a stable home to Mantuan art promoted between the two wars by the fascist institutions, which, moreover, do not find outlets are referred to the Ducal Palace at the seat of the Provincial Administration. To grasp the genesis of the municipal heritage, it is therefore necessary to focus instead on the exhibitions dedicated to Mantuan artistic production organized by the Fascist Union of Fine Arts of Mantua. It is precisely during a review dedicated to the nineteenth and twentieth century Mantua held at Palazzo Te in 1939 that Defendi Semeghini’s relatives decide to donate a large number of the artist’s works on display to the Municipality of Mantua. This purpose becomes reality in 1942. With this first donation, the first at least for numerical consistency, referring to the painting of the second nineteenth century Mantua,
Of a small municipal heritage, we find news three decades later when, on 6 October 1974, in the restored rooms on the ground floor of Palazzo Te, the much-desired Civic Gallery of Modern Art in Mantua was inaugurated. In addition to the Defendi Semeghini donation (23 works exhibited), the new museum presents, in brief and with a small number of works, a painting exhibition in Mantua in the first fifty years of the twentieth century. The second room of the Tinelli is dedicated to the Giorgi donation, 11 are the paintings of the exposed master, while in two rooms of the southern wing of the building there are 17 works by Cavicchini, Dal Prato, Guindani, Monfardini, Perina, Resmi, Ruberti, Vaini and Zanfrognini. To enrich the collection, there is a painting by Guidi and a first nucleus, 10 works located in the first room of the Tinelli, of the new Arnoldo Mondadori donation which boasts a total of 19 paintings by the Venetian Zandomeneghi and 13 by the Florentine Spadini. The civic collection also includes some unexposed works by Facciotto, located in the municipal buildings, and three by Bodini.
The paintings at Palazzo Te are just over 60. The seed, however, is thrown. When ten years later, on April 21, 1985, the permanent section of Modern Art was inaugurated on the upper floor of the Julian villa, the collection can boast new works and count names of the Mantuan painting not present in the Te in ’74.
With over 180 works on display including paintings, sculptures and drawings, the museum traces “the essential lines of the Mantuan art profile” from the late nineteenth century to the fifties of the twentieth century. If the painters already present in 1974, Cavicchini, Dal Prato, Guindani, Monfardini, Perina, Resmi, Ruberti, Vaini, Zanfrognini, are reiterated with new works, the picture gallery now also includes the names of other Mantovans or artists active in Mantua: Baldassarri called Bum, Bernardelli, Bini, Bondioli, Bresciani from Gazoldo, De Luigi, Del Bon, Di Capi, Dusi, Facciotto, Falchi, Bruna Gasparini, Gilioli, Gozzi, Guidetti, Longfils, Lomini, Lucchini, Lilloni, Luppi, Malaguti, Marini , Mazzini Beduschi, Minutes, Momoli Longhini, Moretti Foggia, Nene Nodari, Domenico Pesenti, Vindizio Nodari Pesenti, Pittigliani, Mimì Quilici Buzzacchi, Rossi, Scaravelli, Elena Schiavi,
The Mantuan sculpture is represented by Bergonzoni, Cerati, Gorni, Mutti, Nenci, Seguri.
The Museum also exhibits drawings by Lanfranco, Madella, Margonari, Morari, Mutti, Olivieri, Schirolli, Sermidi, Viani, Teresita Vincenti as well as the already mentioned Facciotto, Lomini, Vindizio Pesenti, Pio Semeghini, Trenti, Bergonzoni, Gorni, Mutti, Nenci, Seguri.
The reorganization of the museum spaces on the upper floor of the Julian villa soon led to the admission of the Galleria to Palazzo Te deposits and to the redefinition of the exhibition sections (December 1996) as they are today (Mondadori Collection, Mesopotamian Collection, Gonzaga Collection, Egyptian Collection ).
Donations and acquisitions, however, continue, also by virtue of the initiatives promoted “by the Municipality aimed at organizing events aimed at enhancing the municipal heritage”, set up both at Palazzo Te and at Palazzo della Ragione, and at exhibitions that investigate the entire twentieth century and beyond, such as Arte a Mantova 1900-1950, organized at Palazzo Te in 1999, and Arte a Mantova 1950-1999, held in 2000 in several locations and Arte a Mantova 2000-2010 organized at the Casa del Mantegna.
2001 is the year in which the civic collection is enriched with the precious and imposing Domenico Pesenti and Vindizio Nodari Pesenti collection (consisting of over 250 works including paintings, sculptures and drawings by the two masters), celebrated in a qualified exhibition at Palazzo della Ragione . The Aldo Bergonzoni donation is also from the same year.
In the meantime, the municipal collection of paintings is enhanced by new works by artists already contemplated in the collection and by works by Mantuan painters or operants in Mantua not yet present at Palazzo Te. They are paintings referring to the second half of the nineteenth century, by Lina Poma, in the early twentieth century, by Carbonati and Passerini, and works of the late twentieth century by Bertolazzi, Besson, Bolognesi, Boni, Federica Bottoli, Carnevali, Costantini, De Giovannis, De Luigi, Ferlisi, Galusi , Fornasari, Gandini, Garosi, Ghizzardi, Giovannoni, Guidetti, Quatty, Lazzarini, Lipreri, Marocchi, Mattioli, Morari, Mori, Nardi, Palvarini Moccia, Parenti, Gabriella Pauletti, Pecchioni, Pedrazzoli, Rosa, Rovesti, Salvadori, Saviola, Scaini , Scaravelli, Sermidi, Sgarbi, Tampellini.
This group of artists is joined by a large group of non-Mantuan authors. Even the sculpture is enriched by the names of Bernardelli, Fira Cadoria, Granata and Viviani. From 2014-2015 it is the recovery, restoration and permanent exhibition in the original site, by this Direction, of 15 bas-reliefs in glazed ceramic from 1963-64 by Nenci, Sabbadini, Lazzarini and Seguri. These are works that were commissioned by the Municipality of Mantua during 1963 to the artists Albano Seguri, Enzo Nenci, Selvino Sabbadini and Cesare Lazzarini with the intention of embellishing the new Elementary School “Maurizio Gonzaga” by Te Brunetti – now the site of the Sector Public Works – inaugurated in November of the same year.
In 2016, new donations were received by the Palazzo Te Civic Museum by Mantua artists, or by their families, Banali, Bolognesi, Gorni, Costantini, Billoni, Emiliani, Mantovani, Margonari, Nordera, Nenci, Morari, Noto, Olivieri, Pauletti , Seguri and Cottini from Brescia. Since that distant 1916, when Boccioni praised the local artistic production, it has been just a century. In these hundred years Palazzo Te has been able to build a
The Palazzo Te is a historic and monumental building in Mantua. a fine example of the mannerist style of architecture, Built between 1524 and 1534 on commission by Federico II Gonzaga, it is the most famous work of the Italian architect Giulio Romano. The complex is now home to the civic museum and, since 1990, the International Center for Art and Culture of Palazzo Te which organizes exhibitions of ancient and modern art and architecture.