Poldi Pezzoli Museum, new lighting for the Scalone Antico

New lighting for the Scalone Antico of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum. Small Led projectors with minimal visual impact and low consumption were chosen.

On the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of its founder Gian Giacomi Poldi Pezzoli (July 27, 1822 - April 6, 1879), the Poldi Pezzoli Museum unveiled the new lighting of the Scalone Antico, among the museum’s most striking rooms.

It is a project that is among the priorities of the strategic plan presented by architect Alessandra Quarto last April, four months after she took office as director of the Poldi Pezzoli, when the proposal for new lighting of the main entrance to the museum was first announced.

“Improving the enjoyment of the works and environments is one of the main goals of the Museum’s mission; the reorganization program is articulated and we wanted to start precisely from the Scalone because it is the first environment that welcomes the public and is extraordinarily rich in works of art and history,” said Alessandra Quarto.

In the mid-19th century, Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli had entrusted his friend and collaborator Giuseppe Bertini with the task of creating a scenic environment to access the palace’s second floor from the courtyard. Bertini rearranged the pre-existing 17th-century access, designing the neo-Baroque Scalone and Candoglia marble fountain. The Scalone is among the rooms that were least damaged by the bombing that hit the Museum in 1943: the frieze with Venus holding a torch was preserved, but the painted-glass skylight depicting a grille with putti and flowers was destroyed; also the work of Giuseppe Bertini, which with the filtering of light and its reflections on the water of the fountain was supposed to accompany the visitor in the transition from an external to an internal environment. As at the opening of the Museum in 1881, portraits and landscapes are displayed along the Scalone, alternating between the six female statues representing Prudence, War, Piety, Wisdom, Faith and Theocracy, including the four large canvases painted by Alessandro Magnasco and Antonio Francesco Peruzzini, whose verdant landscapes emphasize the reconstruction in this space of a natural environment.

“The new lighting enhances the architecture, accentuating its rhythm made up of solids and voids, light and shadow. This recomposes the unique scenography conceived by Giuseppe Bertini, who intended to welcome and amaze the guests of the house museum; a harmony now rediscovered that will excite visitors and allow them to grasp the details of Magnasco’s four large canvases, in which the dramatic tone of the composition is accentuated by rapid brushstrokes and intense luministic contrasts,” the director continues.

The lighting design is by engineer and lighting designer Pietro Palladino. Small LED projectors with minimal visual impact and low power consumption were chosen. ERCO’s lighting system, despite the objective difficulties, made it possible to obtain a homogeneous and diffuse illumination, creating a perceptual hierarchy that intends to guide the visitor to discover the architectural and sculptural details during the ascent to the piano nobile, favoring orientation and visual comfort, while ensuring durability and reliability over time in an architectural context in which maintenance is always extremely complex. The light is dimmable through a system capable of managing the intensity of the individual source so as to contain energy consumption. The project was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of the Associazione Amici del Museo Poldi Pezzoli.

Poldi Pezzoli Museum, new lighting for the Scalone Antico
Poldi Pezzoli Museum, new lighting for the Scalone Antico

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