Bologna Collezioni Comunali D’ Arte
Iguidez Tags: Chinoiseries, Donati Creti, Francesco Francia, Francesco Hayez, Gaetano Gandolfi, Gandolfi, Giovanni Burrini, Mauro Gandolfi, Nuvolone, Palazzo D’Accursio, Pedrini, Pelagio Palagi, Serafino Barozzi, Vidoniana, Zanotti
About Collezioni Comunali D’ Arte
On the second floor of Palazzo Comunale is the Collezioni Communali D’Arte – City Art Collections. This wing of the complex though is also known as Palazzo D’Accursio and was used from 1508 as the residence of the Cardinal Legate, representative of the Pope and Governor of the City of Bologna on behalf of the Pope.1 The illustrious decorations and valuable furnishings in the following rooms therefore reflect this significant piece of Bolognese history.
The first two rooms are called the ‘Swiss Guard’ Room and ‘Light Calavary’ Room, respectively. They served the Life Guards of the Cardinal Legate. Art work and furnishings here date from the 16th-18th centuries with artists such as Valesio, Gentileschi, Nuvolone, Gandolfi, de Maria and Sansovino represented in paintings and friezes.
This next room is known as the Vidoniana. It’s probably the most beautiful room in the Collections because of the harmony of its proportions and the limpidness of its spaces… The name of Vidoniana was conferred to the room by the Legate Pietro Vidoni in 1665 “for the honest laziness of people.”2
There are approximately 30 paintings here by Donati Creti. The life sized statues around the room which represent mythological divinities were executed by Giacomo Rossi and Giacomo de Maria. The room also boasts a perspective painting by 17th century artists Domenico Santi and G. Battista Caccioli.
The next group of rooms lead in the direction off Piazza Maggiore.
At the end of this one is magnificent work dating to the 1400’s by an unknown Bolognese artist. Other exhibits here include valuable panels and crucifixes from the 13th-15th centuries. They were originally part of the City Medieval Museum at the bequest of the artist and architect Pelagio Palagi.
In the center of the room is this painting by Francesco Francia, called the Crucifixion. It’s considered to be the most famous work of the collections and dates to around 1480 and is said to reflect his youthful period of work. Other artists in these rooms include Carracci, Cesi, Cagnacci and Crespi.
Of particular interest in Room 7 are a series of portraits by the painter, architect and collector Palagi, while overhead another master exhibits equally fascinating work on the ceiling. Serafino Barozzi and his student Francesco Santini completed their work here in the mid 1800’s. One particular theme in Room 9 is considered to have been taken as Chinoiseries.
Back in the Vidoniana Room again is a doorway leading to a long corridor with more rooms very much like a modern version of an open styled office.
The walls in this room are covered in red damask. Among other special features are a coffered ceiling and a 16th century beam.
These following rooms contain the Rusconi Collection made up of furniture, paintings, miniatures, fans, textiles, and household furnishings from the 1700’s.
It must be noted though, that after various episodes such as the Unification of Italy, the original splendor of these rooms suffered greatly. Many 17th century friezes, frescoed walls and ceilings were partitioned or ruined and it was only due to extensive restoration work between 1934-35 that important historical features were brought back to life.
Towards the end is a small but well respected collection donated by Doctor Tristiano Giorgio Agostini in May 2006. They were executed by Giovanni Burrini and Gaetano Gandolfi.
A highly significant contribution within this collection is the ‘Urbana’ Room. Unfortunately, it’s not shown in this footage due to corrosion on the roof. Carried out on the orders of Cardinal Bernardino Spada in 1630, its walls are covered with coats of arms, quite similar to the Archiginnasio nearby. Restoration work will hopefully be under way soon.
The remaining rooms contain more paintings and a few sculptures. Some of the work was entrusted to the City of Bologna by the John XXIII Charitable Institute for public viewing. Noteworthy though, are the allegorical themes displayed on the ceilings dating to the end of the 18th century by Filippo Pedrini, Mauro Gandolfi and Davide Zanotti.
Various models are placed throughout the museum such as these two equestrian ones of Caster and Pollux by Abbando Sangiorgio from Milan. They were intended for the Royal Palace in Turin.
In the corner is this valuable work of art called Ruth from the 1800’s. It was completed by Francesco Hayez who was considered one of the principal interpreters of the Italian “Historical” Romantic movement.3
Finally, next to ‘modern’ architectural designs of Bologna from the 18th century are these wooden sculptures by an unknown Bolognese artist. The clock over this Palazzo was once a Glockenspiel with these moving figures. A simple reminder of how times have changed.
1 Publication: City Art Collections – Palazzo d’Accursio, Bologna, n.d.
2 As above.
3 As above.