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Art Museum Collections

ART COLLECTIONS

RISORGIMENTO MUSEUM DOCUMENTARY COLLECTION

GRAZIOSI COLLECTION

 

ART COLLECTIONS

Sculptures and paintings
Of particular note among the oldest pieces are a stoup and a capital made by the Maestri Campionesi (Masters of Campione) dating back to the twelfth century, fragments of 13th-14th century frescoes from the cathedral and a cymatium (top) of a triptych made by Thomas of Modena around 1345. A few pieces in particular stand out among the Renaissance works: the Madonna di Piazza and the Cristo Crocifisso (the Crucified Christ), both terracotta works by Antonio Begarelli (1499 - 1565), and an altarpiece by Gian Gherardo Dalle Catene (active 1507-1543). The evolution in painting in the Duchy of the House of Este during the 17th to 18th centuries is attested in canvases by Ludovico Lana (1597-1646), Francesco Stringa (1635-1709), Sigismondo Caula (1637-1724), Antonio Consetti (1686-1766) and Giacomo Zoboli (1681-1767). The 19th century works, many of which are on exhibit in the Palazzo Comunale (Municipal Building) due to a shortage of space, include paintings by Adeodato Malatesta (1806-1891), founder of the Modena school of painting, and sculptures by Luigi Mainoni (1804-1853), Giovanni Cappelli (1814-1885) and Alessandro Cavazza (1824-1873). 19th and 20th century painting is represented by the works (currently in storage) of major Modena artists of the period, such as Gaetano Bellei, Giovanni Muzzioli, Casimiro Jodi, Tino Pelloni and Augusto Valli, many of whom were participants in the “Poletti Award”.

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Musical Instruments
The core of the exhibit, which includes aerophones, keyboards, bowed strings and cordophones, is constituted by the collection donated by Count Luigi Francesco Valdrighi in 1892. The instruments are signed by both Italian and foreign craftsmen, including Ermenegildo Magazari (active 1792-1813), Thomas Stanesby Junior (1692-1754) and Johann Wilhelm Oberlender (1681-1763), and are predominantly 18th and 19th century pieces. Instruments such as the harpsichord signed by Pietro Termanini in 1741, Giovan Battista Dall'Olio’s (1739-1823) hammer dulcimer and several brass instruments made by Antonio Apparuti (1799-1845), also a highly-respected gunsmith, are representative of the Este’s Duchy’s production.

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Decorative papers
The collection was donated by Count Luigi Alberto Gandini (1827-1906), to whom the museum also owes an important textile collection. The papers, which in large part come from paperback, book covers and flyleaves, date from the late 17th to mid-19th centuries. The more than four hundred sheets from Italian and German manufacturers document various production and decorative techniques, from embossing to woodcut, to marbling.

 

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Leathers
A hundred or so examples document the various uses of leather in furniture and bookbinding in the 16th and 17th centuries. Alongside several bindings and cases of various types, the collection offers fragments of wall-coverings and antependia that represent various types of ornamental design: gilding, punching, oil-painted embossed patterns, printed monochrome decorative patterns and gold print.

Caption: Drinking glass holder and vial container. Italy, second half of 18th century and first half of 19th century. Gold tooled Morocco leather.

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Weights and measures
The core of the collection is made up of prototypes of 18th and 19th century weights and measures from the Archivio Segreto della Comunità (Secret Archive of the Community) and from the Ufficio della Bona Opinione (Office of Good Opinion), which saw to the periodic verification and stamping of the weights and measures used in the Este’s Duchy; in addition to these, there are several series of glass weights, monetary scales and lever scales.

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Decorative terracotta
This collection documents one of the salient aspects of the architecture of the Po River Valley between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and consists of around a hundred decorative architectural items: corbels, capitals, fragments of friezes and bricks printed with ornamentation that is gothic (spirals, lozenges, volutes with vegetal patterns) or classical (ovolos, dentils, beadings, rosettes). In addition to the older pieces from the city and the region, there is a sampling of terracotta produced by local kilns during the second half of the 19th century.

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Scientific instruments
The collection consists of 18th and 19th century machines, devices and instruments pertaining to various fields (optics, astronomy, electromagnetics, hydraulics and mechanics), most of which came from the University of Modena’s Physics Cabinet’s patrimony of historical instruments. Among the items of greatest interest are Giovanni Maccari’s (1622-1997) armillary spheres, Alessandro Volta’s (1745-1827) lamplighter, Giovan Battista Amici’s (1786-1863) reflecting microscope, the “perpetual” clock designed by Giuseppe Zamboni (1776-1846), Matteo Greuter’s (1556-1638) terrestrial and celestial globes and the machines constructed by Brother Agostino Arleri (1741-1821) in the university’s laboratory.

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Ceramics
A group of etched ceramics (bowls, small plates, flasks, mugs) document the production of the workshops of Modena from the end of the 15th century through the end of the 18th century; alongside these there is a moderate sampling of 15th to 18th century Italian majolica ware that can be traced back to factories in Faenza, Veneto, Lombardy, Liguria and Umbria.
Shapes and decorative motifs of the ceramic production of the Este’s Duchy from the mid 18th to the late 19th century are represented by a group of majolica and stoneware produced by factories in Sassuolo: Dallari (1756-1835), Ferrari Moreni (1836-1853) and Rubbiani (1853-1911).

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Glasswork
Among the blown glass and crystal cut glass that comprise the collection, there is a core group of Venetian and Murano samples dating back to the 16th through the early 18th century, part of which come from the Physics Cabinet of the University of Modena. Glass produced in Modena in the 18th and 19th centuries, which was recognizable by its green colouring, is represented by a group of jars, glasses, vials and bottles used for conserving balsamic vinegar.

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Weapons and horseback riding equipment
The donation by the marquis Paolo Coccapani Imperiali (1898) constitutes almost the entirety of the weapons collection, which includes firearms, cold weapons and pole weapons, which are predominantly European and datable to the 15th through the 19th centuries. Some examples attest to the expertise of the artisans who practiced in the Este’s Duchy from the 16th to 19th centuries, such as Piero Bonetti, Giuseppe Bonfati, Rinaldo Cavicchioli e Antonio Apparuti, also well known for his musical instrument making. The unique collection of bits, bridles and spurs from the 15th to 19th centuries (having belonged to Francesco Petermayer, riding instructor in the ducal stables in the first half of the 19th century) present a wide range of types and variants.

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The Gandini textile collection
An ample selection of this prestigious textile collection donated by Luigi Alberto Gandini in 1881-1882 is displayed in a hall that has maintained its suggestive 19th century set up. It is made up of over 2,500 fragments of garment and furniture fabric: velvet, damask, brocade, satin, taffeta, printed canvas, embroidery, needle lace, bobbin lace, passementerie, ribbons, braided trim and fringe. The collection boasts an abundant and colourful set of yarn samples, techniques and ornamental designs of the textile arts (predominantly Italian and European), from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It also includes men and women’s clothing from the 18th and 19th centuries, stored for safekeeping.

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The Campori Collection
In 1929 the marquis Matteo Campori donated to the Municipality of Modena the gallery of paintings that he had formed and set up in the family estate in Via Ganaceto, which was heavily bombed in 1944. During the post-war period, the works ended up at the Civic Museum. The collection includes paintings with both religious and secular subjects, still-lifes, landscapes and genre scenes that reveal the collector’s taste, which was inspired by overly refined criteria and oriented towards 17th and 18th century Italian painting. Among the most significant works stand out the Portrait of General Pallfly’s Son by Giuseppe Maria Crespi (circa 1705), the Portarolo (Porter Boy Resting) by Giacomo Ceruti (circa 1735), Domine quo vadis by Ludovico Lana (1625-1649) and the Testa di fanciulla con turbante (Girl’s Portrait With Turban) by Francesco Stringa (1675-1699).

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Sernicoli Collection
Carlo Sernicoli, a business consultant from Modena who died prematurely in 2007, left to his city’s museum two important collections composed of 36 paintings and 49 pieces of Este silverware, requesting that the institution exhibit them within two years of his death. Among the painted works figure 19th century paintings by the artists Pompeo Borra, Virgilio Guidi and Ubaldo Oppi, as well as about thirty important older paintings, by artists such as Giovanni da Modena (active 1398-1454), Elisabetta Sirani (1638-1663), Guercino (1591-1660) and Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1665-1747). The collection documents the artistic panorama of Emilia from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

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RISORGIMENTO MUSEUM DOCUMENTARY COLLECTION

The collections that comprise the Risorgimento Museum, founded in 1894 and closed to the public in 1992, concern Modena’s participation in the national events of the Risorgimento, as well as documenting the preceding Napoleonic era with a foray into the context of the Este’s Duchy and the wars of the 20th century that followed, in particular the Italian-Turkish war of 1911-12 and World War I. The Foundation boasts 2000 items, 1500 volumes, a documentary collection of pamphlets and autographs, and over 2500 photographs.

Digital files of the documents belonging to the Risorgimento Museum are available online. The published images and information are part of the digital cataloguing project financed by the “Istituto per i beni artistici culturali e naturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna” (the Institute for Artistic, Cultural and Natural Heritage of Emilia Romagna), pursuant to and in accordance with L.R. 18/2000 “Norms for libraries, historical archives, museums and cultural heritage”. The data gathered are included in the digital catalogue of cultural heritage of the region.

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The database of museum collections was created by CRC – Centro Regionale per il Catalogo e la documentazione Srl. (Regional Centre for Catalogues and Documentation, Ltd). Datasheets by Lorenzo Lorenzini, photo campaign by Sergio Orselli CRC Srl.

 

GRAZIOSI COLLECTION

The Giuseppe Graziosi Collection consists of works in the plaster cast gallery instituted in 1984, following the acquisition of a sizeable collection of the artists’ sculptures, paintings, engravings and drawings, donated by his children, Paolo Graziosi and Rosetta Graziosi Vespignani. Originally placed in the former “San Paolo” girl’s boarding school, in 1994 the gallery was moved to the current location on the ground floor of the Palazzo dei Musei and may be visited upon request during the operating hours of the Civic Museums.
The group of about seventy sculptures is made up of rough sketches in terracotta, original plaster casts and replicas, while the more than two hundred papers that comprise the graphic portion include drawings, etchings, aquatints and lithography.
There are about a dozen paintings, a few of which, due to their size, are housed in the boardrooms of the Palazzo Comunale.
During the ‘90s, the collection increased with the Museum’s purchase of several bronze statuettes and the complete series of the Via Crucis engravings; Graziosi’s heirs also generously donated the artist’s photographical archive (currently housed at the Photography Foundation of Modena), which he used in his work and which includes more than 2000 negatives.

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