Italian state museums send artworks to the regions as part of long-term initiative
December 17 2021
By Adrian Murphy
Cristoforo Roncalli’s Madonna and Child with Saints Augustine and Magdalene and angels will move from the Brera Art Gallery in Milan to the National Gallery of the Marche in Urbino
The 100 opere tornano a casa (100 Works Return Home), is an initiative launched by the Ministry of Culture and includes works from 14 of Italy’s premier museums, including Florence’s Uffizi Galleries and Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera, being sent to provincial museums.
This initiative aims to bring footfall to less-often-visited sites across Italy’s peninsula and is also part of Italy’s ongoing push to reduce the pressure on tourist hotspots like Florence and Venice.
Only the beginning
Italy’s Ministry of Culture has said the first 100 artworks, on loan for ten years, are only the beginning.
“This project gives new life to works of art by more or less well-known artists that are not currently visible and promotes smaller, peripheral and less frequented museums,” said Italy’s Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini.
“These one hundred works are only the first of a long-term project that aims to enhance the immense cultural heritage owned by the state.”
At the weekend two 17th-century landscapes by Neapolitan painter Salvator Rosa were relocated from Rome’s Palazzo Barberini gallery to the National Museum of Matera, a city in southern Italy that has been undergoing a meteoric revival.
Earlier this week, Federico Barocci’s Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Francis set off from the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan for the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche in Urbino.
The initiative’s name refers to the fact that, when some of these works travel, they’ll be going back to the sites to where their makers either worked or travelled.
Bringing works out of storage
The initiative also marks an attempt to bring out works that have long gone unseen. Of the estimated 4.5m objects held in Italy’s state museums, only 10 percent are on display.
The Italian government has allocated €1m to fund shipping and exhibition costs related to the relocation programme, as well as restorations of some of the works.
Six paintings depicting religious scenes by Giovanni Baglione, Cristoforo Roncalli and Simone Canterini have been loaned by the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. They went to museums in Urbino and Oriolo Romano. The second grouping of works to be relocated as part of the program will be finalised in the spring by the Italian government and museum officials.
More than 3,600 works from 90 of Italy’s state museums have been marked as objects eligible for travel through the project.