Milan, masterpieces from the Gastaldi Rotelli Collection on display at the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum

From Oct. 15, 2022 to March 12, 2023, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan will host the exhibition "The Seduction of Beauty," featuring masterpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries from the Gastaldi Rotelli Collection. Plus, the museum opens a new hall and shows the renovated shop.

From October 15, 2022 to March 12, 2023, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan is organizing the exhibition La seduzione del bello. Secret Masterpieces between the 17th and 18th centuries, curated by curator Antonio D’Amico, with the collaboration of Maria Silvia Proni, curator of the Gastaldi Rotelli Collection. The exhibition, organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, the support of the Lombardy Region and the City of Milan, and the fundamental contribution of GKSD Investment Holding, aligns fifty masterpieces that leave for the first time all together their usual residence, the Gastaldi Rotelli Collection, to enter the neo-Renaissance rooms of Via Gesù and place themselves in dialogue with the eclectic 15th- and 16th-century permanent collection that brothers Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi gathered at the end of the 19th century. With this exhibition, the House Museum therefore wants to configure itself as a “House of Collections,” creating an interesting as well as unprecedented reflection on the role of private collecting, its history and consequent valorization and fruition in the contemporary age.

Gilda Gastaldi and Giuseppe Rotelli, passionate about seventeenth- and eighteenth-century painting and attracted by the variety of themes that characterize it, collected an exceptional nucleus of paintings at the end of the twentieth century, for about twenty years, participating in auctions all over the world and traveling in constant search of precious works of art. This collecting passion finds a celebrated antecedent in the brothers Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi, who in the nineteenth century gave life to the family palace in the heart of Milan, now home to the Museum, enriching it with paintings and artifacts of applied art four sixteenth-century, with the intention of creating a dwelling inspired by the noble dwellings of the late Renaissance.

This exhibition thus aims to connect these two important collections, which, though with different methodologies, are an expression and portrait of their creators and reflect their desire to live surrounded by art and beauty. The path of the exhibition unfolds throughout the rooms of the Museum, and the visitor is asked to scrutinize the details of the paintings of the Gastaldi Rotelli collection to identify assonances with the different thematic identities that characterize all the rooms of the Bagatti Valsecchi house.

È possible to look closely at biblical and religious images in the paintings by Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Giuseppe Vermiglio, Tanzio da Varallo and Francesco Cairo, to contemplate daily life with the mystical scenes of Alessandro Magnasco, those of music painted by Giacomo Francesco Cipper known as the Todeschini and Bernardo Strozzi, of the study of the cosmos, nature and landscape, made by Michele Marieschi, Luca Carlevaris and Francesco Guardi, until being captured by the courtships and banquets populated by pitocchi, masterfully painted by Monsù Bernardo, Pseudo Salini, Todeschini and Giacomo Ceruti.

The installation, created by the Milanese studio Garibaldiarchitects, involves all the rooms and is enriched by Dedar’s precious textiles and Matteobrioni’s natural earths, creating an unprecedented itinerary that reconfigures the spaces of the House Museum: each room hosts a different pictorial theme to enhance the identity of the individual rooms and create suggestions with the works on display.

From December 1, the itinerary will also be enriched with a new room, normally closed to the public, which will host an in-depth study dedicated to the theme of the nativity: it will be possible to admire a large Nativity scene painted by the Milanese Francesco Londonio, along with a Holy Family by Carlo Francesco Nuvolone, a Madonna Suckling the Child by Prospero Fontana and a Rest during the Flight into Egypt by Sebastiano Ricci, testifying that the Gastaldi Rotelli collection has a precious as well as rare presence of secret masterpieces all waiting to be discovered.

The exhibition is also enriched by the event In Arte Veritas, three evenings conceived and conducted by sommelier and gastronome Andrea Amadei with art historian Antonio D’Amico, and made possible thanks to three important Italian wine cellars, Altemasi, Donnafugata and Rocca di Frassinello. The public, on Nov. 30, 2022 with Rocca di Frassinello, on Jan. 25 with Donnafugata, and on March 1, 2023 with Altemasi, will be able to taste a selection of wines, living a multisensory experience, between Art and Wine, letting themselves be fascinated by the scents and symbologies hidden in the painted images. Reservations for the evenings are required on the Museum’s website.

Camilla Bag atti Valsecchi, president of the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation, says: “Our museum, wants to be a dynamic, welcoming place, ready to make its historical-artistic identity dialogue with other precious collections, to offer unprecedented visions and unusual paths of the art world. It is with this spirit that I am happy to welcome among the rooms of the museum this significant selection of paintings from the collection of Giuseppe Rotelli and Gilda Gastaldi. Visitors will be able to walk through all the rooms of the Casa Museo and discover some exceptional guests; canvases created by artists between the 17th and 18th centuries, in Lombardy and Veneto, that transform the spaces of Casa Bagatti Valsecchi into moments of beauty and harmony for the eye and the mind. I hope that anyone who can see the exhibition will experience the pleasant feeling of being seduced by beauty, a feeling we all need, especially in this difficult historical moment.”

“This great exhibition,” says Museum curator and exhibition curator Antonio D’Amico, "constitutes a valuable opportunity for the public to admire works that are difficult to enjoy in museums, and it will also be an opportunity to reflect on the ability that the Casa Museo Bagatti Valsecchi still possesses to transform itself to welcome distinguished guests. In this case, the Museum is dressed in a festive mood as it opens its doors to paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, generating an ideal encounter between two collections and different artistic languages. Moreover, the exhibition will be for the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum the start of new projects, such as the new shop and the collateral events of In Arte Veritas, a cycle of three meetings dedicated to the connection between Art and Wine conducted together with Andrea Amadei."

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalog published by Sagep Editori. It is a valuable volume rich in images and dense in content that addresses the theme of private collecting from multiple points of view, delving into issues such as women’s collecting, the role of private collecting in the formation of civic collections, the rhetoric of images in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, painted fashion and the relationship of works with museum spaces, thanks to the contributions of leading scholars.

In addition, with the aim of making the visit to the Museum even more engaging and interesting, on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition, the new completely refurbished Shop is presented, the result of a synergy signed with Manifattura di Domodossola S.p.A., a historic Piedmontese company founded in 1913 and a leader in the production of woven fabrics destined for the world of fashion, furniture and footwear. The entire shop area is covered with the materials produced by the company, in particular the walls feature a bright golden copper weave, while the entrance desk and product display areas are embellished with woven leather details. The Fondazione Bagatti Valsecchi, thanks to this important partnership, will offer the public a rich variety of merchandise specially designed and made by Athison, a high leather goods brand of Manifattura di Domodossola S.p.A.

Image: Giovannni Paolo Pannini, Archaeological Capriccio with St. Peter’s sermon (Preaching of St. Peter among Roman ruins),

c. 1740, Gastaldi Rotelli Collection

Milan, masterpieces from the Gastaldi Rotelli Collection on display at the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum
Milan, masterpieces from the Gastaldi Rotelli Collection on display at the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum

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