The Crema Museum displays from storage the first works from the Stramezzi collection

From April 22 to June 18, 2023, the Crema Museum offers the second edition of Deposits on Display: exhibited on this occasion are the first works from the collection of Paolo Stramezzi, the Cremasque collector who donated his collection to the museum.

The Pinacoteca del Museo Civico di Crema e del Cremasco inaugurates Saturday, April 22 at 5:30 p.m. the second edition of Depositi esposti, a review with which the Crema Museum too, aligning itself with what has already been experimented by other museums, intends cyclically to give visibility to part of the collections conserved in its deposits. This year’s theme is Prime works from the Stramezzi collection, thus returning to the figure of Paolo Stramezzi (Moscazzano, 1884 - Cannes, 1968) and his art collection.

On the occasion of the exhibition organized last year, the remarkable group of works belonging to the collection of the Cremasque collector had been presented to the city: about sixty paintings that the heirs of Marina Stramezzi (Crema, 1951 - 2021), Paolo’s granddaughter, decided to generously grant to the museum at the end of 2021, through a free loan. In this second edition of Deposits on Display, new works from the deposits will be exhibited: works that Paolo Stramezzi himself, in the 1960s, decided with great liberality first to lend and then to donate permanently to the Cremasque museum institution recently opened to the public.

Of the thirty-six works, which came to the museum premises in 1963 and were donated in 1966, today only seventeen, for reasons of space and exhibition coherence, are part of the permanent itinerary, while about half of the donation is routinely hospitalized in storage. This exhibition is intended to give visitors the opportunity to admire reunited in the Pinacoteca the complete series of paintings that arrived thanks to the munificence of a private citizen and a great art collector.

Inaugurating the exhibition, which follows a chronological order, Madonna Enthroned with Child by Tomaso Pombioli, a painting belonging to the artist’s earliest production (c. 1600 - 1620) and which at the Perletta - the suburban villa in the San Bartolomeo ai Morti neighborhood elected by Paolo Stramezzi as his private residence - we know was placed in the chapel.

This is followed by fifteen works, all by Eugenio Giuseppe Conti, starting with two beautiful portraits of women dating from the 19th century: Portrait of Zita Francioli, dated between 1880 and 1885 and purchased in 1938 through restorer Alfredo Laini, and Portrait of a Young Woman, most likely dating from the same years and purchased by Paolo Stramezzi in 1937 from the painter’s daughter, Clorinda.

Also extremely interesting by Conti is a nucleus of ten sketches made as preparatory studies for larger paintings or decorative cycles. Of these, also from his daughter Clorinda in 1937, are Angelo dell’Apocalisse, dated around 1886 and a study for the decoration of the tympanum of the central chapel of the San Bernardino cemetery in Crema; Fuori di pericolo, a small model for a larger canvas large one presented in 1891 in Milan at the First Triennial Exhibition at the Brera Academy and now kept in Crema by the Allocchio family, but also displayed in the exhibition thanks to the courtesy of the owners who lent it; SantAmbrogio, a square sketch with the saint inscribed within a clypeus, intended for part of the decoration executed by the Cremasque painter in 1897 inside the tiburium of the basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan; Madonna Enthroned with Child (Madonna with Starry Mantle), of which we are obscure the destination and consequently the dating is more uncertain (ca. 1880 - 1900); Madonna Assunta, a study for the fresco made in 1902 for the oratory of Santa Maria di Cremosano, unfortunately today much deteriorated.

Five other sketches on display, bought instead in 1937 from a Crivelli, tell the story of a missed decoration: they were in fact prepared before 1892, as a rather sibylline inscription by the painter also reminds us on the back, for an ornamentation that was never executed on the vaults of Crema Cathedral. They depict an unidentifiable Prophet; St. Peter the Apostle; St. Paul the Apostle; St. Andrew the Apostle; and St. John the Evangelist.

Closing the group of Conti’s works are three portraits already from the 20th century: Portrait of Giacomo Mantegazza in Costume, dated between 1900 and 1905 and bought in 1937 by the painter’s daughter; Portrait of Mr. Poma, dated to the same years and also bought by the painter’s daughter; La romana (Woman in Roman Costume), also datable to the early 20th century.

The exhibition concludes with Carlo Martini’sIsola Comacina, a view of Lake Como made around 1937 and purchased by Paolo Stramezzi in 1942 in Milan at the painter’s solo exhibition at the Palazzo della Permanente.

In total, therefore, the works removed from storage and exhibited are seventeen. To them is added, as mentioned from the Allocchio collection in Crema, the painting Fuori di pericolo by Eugenio Giuseppe Conti, placed in the exhibition next to the sketch of the same name to allow for comparison. The other works pertaining to the 1963 deposit and 1966 donation, also on display, are recognizable in the permanent arrangement thanks to the inscription “Collezione Stramezzi” placed in front of them on the floor.

The exhibition, curated by the conservator, Alessandro Barbieri, and Elisabetta Macalli and Francesco Pavesi, young scholars who decided to dedicate their Civil Service to cultural heritage, will be open until June 18, 2023 during museum opening hours.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog edited by Alessandro Barbieri, Elisabetta Macalli and Francesco Pavesi and produced by Edizioni Museo Civico Crema.

It will also be possible to participate in free guided tours, accompanied by the curators, scheduled on Sunday, April 30, Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, June 11 at 1600. Reservations are required by writing to by the morning of the Friday preceding the tour.

For info:

Hours: Tuesday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 a.m. to noon and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Free admission, no reservation required.

The Crema Museum displays from storage the first works from the Stramezzi collection
The Crema Museum displays from storage the first works from the Stramezzi collection