art revives two historic buildings –

from Roberta Scorranese

On the 17th and 21st, the new Galleries of Italy, designed by the architect De Lucchi for Intesa Sanpaolo, were opened: in Palazzo Turinetti, in Piazza San Carlo in the capital of Piedmont, and in Palazzo Piacentini, in the heart of Campania.

Monday, May 16 in Turin, Intesa Sanpaolo presents to the city the restored Palazzo Turinetti, which has been transformed from a bank into a museum dedicated to photography. On the website of the credit institution live broadcast from 12 with Gian Maria Gro-Pietro, Carlo Messina and Giovanni Basoli. We offer art here
icolo by Roberta Scorranese – published in issue 7 on the newsstands on 13 May – dedicated to this new museum and, in parallel, the transformation into a museum of the Palazzo Piacentini in Naples (which will open on 21 May)

The fact that two more banks became how many museums say a lot about the transformation of the idea of ​​power in the world in which we live. But if these banks were once also based in prestigious historical buildings located in the salons of cities, then the projects become more interesting. This microphysics of power, if you steal Michel Foucault’s happy expression as read in Intesa Sanpaolo’s Progetto Cultura, a system that for years has turned unused bank buildings into exhibition spaces, if not veritable art production sites. And this May, two other museums are opening at the Galleria d’Italia – that’s the name of the scheme promoted by the banking group – one in Turin and one in Naples. The management of both museums is entrusted to Michele Coppola, Executive Director for Art, Culture and Heritage and Director of the Gallerie d’Italia.


And again, the architect Michele De Lucchi, the soul of Amd Circle, became an accomplice in this virtuous metamorphosis. In both cases, we worked on two historic buildings, both architecturally interesting,” says De Lucchi. The Galleria d’Italia – Turin, in fact, will open on May 17 at the Palazzo Turinetti, in Piazza San Carlo, and on the 21st of the month the new headquarters of the Galleria d’Italia – Naples will open in Naples, with an extension three times the current size Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano. De Lucchi starts with the Milan project (opened in 2011) to talk about two new products. In Milan, he explains, the Galleries are housed in the former Banca Commerciale, a huge building that occupies the entirety of one side of Piazza della Scala. And, above all, with a huge central hall, which is ideal for the largest exhibitions. In Turin conditions were different, but stimulating. In fact, Palazzo Turinetti, yes, in Piazza San Carlo, but without a hall capable of hosting large exhibitions. Therefore, we acted vertically.


So, the fourth museum of Intesa Sanpaolo stretches for ten thousand meters of exposition on five floors, three of which are underground. That is, underground, using, De Lucchi clarifies, a staircase that will take visitors to the underground spaces of the exhibitions. Depth extension is a solution that has already been successfully tested in Turin, in the Egyptian Museum and in the Reggia di Venaria Reale, where the entrance and the first rooms are underground. The project transforms the space of the building (originally commissioned by the Marquis Giorgio Turinetti di Priero, banker of the Duchy of Savoy) into a place where various forms of photography intertwine. We decided, says the architect, not to limit the idea of ​​photographs to paper or digital, but to use an interesting architectural junction, the so-called long sleeve.

Photo heritage

On the first underground floor dedicated to temporary exhibitions, visitors will find classrooms with spaces characterized by a large window overlooking Room 300, the historic space where the Assemblies of the Sanpaolo-Imi Banking Institute took place before the construction of the Turin skyscraper. The second underground floor, continues De Lucchi, was considered an intersection from which one could go to the paths. For example, the “long sleeve” that leads to the third underground floor, where the Intesa Sanpaolo Publifoto Archive is located. With approximately seven million photographs taken between the 1930s and 1990s by a renowned Italian photojournalism agency, the Galleria d’Italia in Turin is becoming a place where a great heritage will be preserved: digitized photographs can be viewed using a touch panel. And also on this floor is a multimedia room equipped with 17 4K projectors for the complete immersion of visitors.

Look at the real

On the noble floor of the Palazzo, the museum route curated by Fernando Mazzocca, Alessandro Morandotti and Gelsomina Spione will present about fifty works – paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture – from the 14th to the 18th centuries; a special area will also house nine large paintings belonging to the Bank, created in the second half of the seventeenth century to decorate the ancient oratorio Compagnia di San Paolo, now destroyed. To open new spaces, the exhibition “Fragile Miracle. A journey into a changing nature by Paolo Pellegrin, photo essay on climate change, curated by Walter Guadagnini and featuring Mario Calabresi. Pellegrin will be in dialogue with the exhibition “From War to the Moon”. 1945-1969, a selection of historical images from the Intesa Sanpaolo Publifoto archive of Giovanna Calvenzi and Aldo Grasso on the economic miracle. However, on Saturday 21 May it will be Naples’ turn.

In the center of Naples

Many of us still have scenes was the hand of God, a film by Paolo Sorrentino. There is a moment when the young protagonist goes to visit his father in the office: in that office of the Palazzo Piacentini, that is, in the former Banco di Napoli (where the director’s father actually worked). This is the new headquarters of the Gallerie d’Italia – Naples. a monumental palace, continues Michele De Lucchi, which is located, yes, in the good living room of the city, but through Toledo also passes the road that has always separated the aristocratic districts from the popular ones in Naples, so its significance is enriched with nuances. In fact, in the big hall of the Banco di Napoli, we went not only for banking services, but also met to talk about work, for those conversations halfway between pleasure and official position. In the capital of Campania, the architect came up with a solution that will triple the current space of Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, bringing it to ten thousand square meters. An architectural intervention of great significance, comments De Lucchi, which renews the building without detracting from its historical value.

And finally, Caravaggio.

Here will be presented a selection of Neapolitan and southern paintings and sculptures from the beginning of the seventeenth to the first decades of the twentieth century, starting with the masterpiece of the Intesa Sanpaolo collection, which we will reveal in a few lines, as well as new routes. dedicated to the ceramics of Attica and Magna Graecia, as well as contemporary art. Fernando Mazzocca and Luca Massimo Barbero are among the curators. As we said shortly before, the masterpiece of the house, namely the Martyrdom of Sant’Orsola by Caravaggio, will be especially appreciated. The painting, Merisi’s latest work, is one of the most valuable pieces in the Intesa Sanpaolo collection and will therefore have a private room. For Sant’Orsola, De Lucchi says again, we have developed special lighting that falls on the painting from only one side, reproducing the conditions in which Caravaggio worked. The inauguration of the new Neapolitan headquarters can only be a very important appointment of the Cultural Project, i.e. Restituzioni, a two-year program for the preservation and enhancement of the national artistic heritage that Intesa Sanpaolo has been pursuing for more than thirty years in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture. Another tangible confirmation, concludes De Lucchi, is that creating a culture is not only for creation, but also for preservation, multiplication, preservation. Sincerely.

May 16, 2022 (modified May 16, 2022 | 07:44 AM)

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