Sear­ching for ma­ster­pie­ces and great ar­tists of all eras

The Key to Bergamo Tourist Magazine - - Searching For Masterpieces And Great Artists Of Al -

Li­ke ma­ny pla­ces in Ber­ga­mo Pro­vin­ce, the to­wn of Se­ri­na is ri­ch in hi­sto­ry. Art lo­vers and tou­rists co­me he­re at­trac­ted by the na­me of Ja­co­po Pal­ma il Vec­chio, the great ar­ti­st who was born he­re in 1480. Ja­co­po Ne­gret­ti, bet­ter kno­wn as Pal­ma il Vec­chio, was at­trac­ted to Ve­ni­ce and ar­ri­ved in the la­goon ci­ty at the age of twen­ty. His for­tu­ne as an ar­ti­st is te­sti­fied by the nu­me­rous works found in Ve­ni­ce in the ci­ty’s mo­st im­por­tant chur­ches, buil­dings and mu­seums. Par­ti­cu­lar­ly ce­le­bra­ted are his Sa­cre Con­ver­sa­zio­ni (Sa­cred Con­ver­sa­tions), and his por­trai­ts and can­vas­ses wi­th my­tho­lo­gi­cal su­b­jec­ts, now in ma­jor col­lec­tions in Ita­ly and Eu­ro­pe. Al­thou­gh fa­me ac­com­pa­nied him th­rou­ghout his li­fe (he died in Ve­ni­ce in 1528), he ne­ver bro­ke his ties wi­th Se­ri­na and Ber­ga­mo. Ano­ther great Ber­ga­ma­sk ar­ti­st is Gio­van Bat­ti­sta Mo­ro­ni, who­se works can be found in all ma­jor mu­seums world­wi­de and who­se pre­sen­ce was wi­de­spread in the Ber­ga­mo area. Born in 1522 in Al­bi­no in the Se­ria­na Val­ley, a few ki­lo­me­tres from Ber­ga­mo, he is mo­st fa­mous for his por­trai­ts, in whi­ch the cha­rac­ters are de­pic­ted in a uni­que­ly rea­li­st man­ner, wi­thout em­bel­lish­ment or flat­te­ry. His pain­tings fea­tu­re not ju­st mem­bers of ari­sto­cra­tic Ber­ga­ma­sk fa­mi­lies, but al­so scho­lars, midd­le class men and wo­men, mer­chan­ts and ar­ti­sans, and re­veal a pro­found hu­ma­ni­ty. His mo­st fa­mous work is the por­trait of the Sar­to ( Tai­lor) in the Na­tio­nal Gal­le­ry of Lon­don, but the ar­ti­st’s works are found th­rou­ghout the Ber­ga­ma­sk area. This jour­ney among the be­st kno­wn ar­tists of Ber­ga­mo ta­kes us again to the Se­ria­na Val­ley, to the ho­me of the Fan­to­ni fa­mi­ly in the small vil­la­ge of Ro­vet­ta. He­re we find the mu­seum- hou­se of this ex­traor­di­na­ry fa­mi­ly of ar­ti­sans and ar­tists. Of par­ti­cu­lar re­no­wn is An­drea Fan­to­ni, born in 1659, a great sculp­tu­re who­se ma­ster­pie­ce in the Ba­si­li­ca of Al­za­no Lom­bar­do is an ex­traor­di­na­ry exam­ple of the Ba­ro­que sty­le in this area. But it is al­so wor­th vi­si­ting the Ba­si­li­ca of San­ta Ma­ria Mag­gio­re in Ber­ga­mo, whe­re you can ad­mi­re the woo­den con­fes­sio­nal box in whi­ch the art of An­drea Fan­to­ni rea­ches its ma­xi­mum le­vel of ex­pres­sion. We con­ti­nue our jour­ney wi­th ano­ther great sculp­tor, Gia­co­mo Man­zo­ni, bet­ter kno­wn as Man­zù, who was born in Ber­ga­mo in 1908, and who­se sculp­tu­res are ex­hi­bi­ted in all the grea­te­st mu­seums. He be­gan his ca­reer car­ving wood in the work- shops of Ber­ga­ma­sk ar­ti­sans and ar­tists. His fa­me rea­ched an in­ter­na­tio­nal stan­ding abo­ve all due to his re­la­tion­ship wi­th Po­pe John XXIII, ano­ther great man from Ber­ga­mo. The two men spo­ke in the lo­cal dia­lect whi­le Man­zù pain­ted a por­trait of the Po­pe. The Mo­nu­ment to the Par­ti­san, do­na­ted by Man­zù to the ci­ty of his bir­th, is a pro­mi­nent fea­tu­re of the cen­tre of Ber­ga­mo. The year 2017 marks the se­cond cen­te­na­ry of the dea­th of Gia­co­mo Qua­ren­ghi, who was born in Ro­ta d’ima­gna. A great ar­chi­tect and de­si­gner, he was one of the mo­st il­lu­strious ar­tists of the Eu­ro­pean Neo­clas­si­cal mo­ve­ment. Be­fo­re the age of twen­ty he li­ved in Ber­ga­mo, stu­dy­ing pain­ting, and then mo­ved to Ro­me whe­re he di­sco­ve­red his vo­ca­tion for ar­chi­tec­tu­re. He be­ca­me fa­mous in Rus­sia thanks to Ca­the­ri­ne II, who in­vi­ted him to be Court Ar­chi­tect. Mu­ch of his work can be seen in St. Pe­ter­sburg, and in the esta­tes in and around Mo­scow. The bi­cen­te­na­ry ce­le­bra­tions ha­ve in­vol­ved si­mul­ta­neous even­ts in va­rious ci­ties su­ch as St. Pe­ter­sburg, Mo­scow, War­saw, Mi­lan, Ro­me, Ve­ni­ce, Vi­cen­za and ob­viou­sly Ber­ga­mo. Du­ring the la­st few mon­ths of this “Qua­ren­ghi” year, we re­com­mend vi­si­ting the Bi­blio­te­ca Ci­vi­ca An­ge­lo Mai di Ber­ga­mo (An­ge­lo Mai Civic Li­bra­ry of Ber­ga­mo), whi­ch pos­ses­ses the lar­ge­st col­lec­tion in the world of Qua­ren­ghi’s dra­wings, so­me of whi­ch are on di­splay to vi­si­tors to­ge­ther wi­th the di­gi­tal pu­bli­ca­tion of do­cu­men­ts of Fran­ce­sco Ma­ria Qua­ren­ghi ( bro­ther of the ar­chi­tect) and a new Qua­ren­ghi epi­sto­la­ry. Re­cen­tly re­sto­red, the Fon­da­zio­ne Ac­ca­de­mia Car­ra­ra is al­so a va­lua­ble sour­ce of Qua­ren­ghi dra­wings. n

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