The Baroque Apartments and Legnanino’s Paintings at Palazzo Carignano
On 20 March 2011, after over half a century, the Baroque Apartments at Palazzo Carignano, certainly the most spectacular part of the palace, will finally be open to the public. Designed during the second half of the 17th century by Guarino Guarini,they are rightly considered amongst the masterpieces of European Baroque.
With the restauration of these rooms – that also hosted the Count of Cavour’s study – on the occasion of the celebrations for Italian Unification, a new museum toue has been created in Torino: it will be possible to visit the Appartamento di Mezzogiorno (Midday Apartment), also known as the “Princes’ Apartment”, famous for the beauty of the wood paneling and mirrors that cover its walls; the Appartamento di Mezzanotte (Midnight Apartment); the monumental staircase that leads to the Subalpine Parliament, also visible in the museum tour; and even some areas that have been closed to the public until today and are thus somehow “secret”, like the helicoid staircase facing Piazza Carignano and the evocative vaults.
Inside these rooms Piedmont’s Superintendence for the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage, in collaboration with the Region’s Board for Piedmont’s Cultural and Landscape Heritage, will install an exhibition dedicated to Stefano Maria Legnani, called Legnanino (1661-1713), the author of almost all the frescoes in Palazzo Carignano. Having trained as an artist in Milan, Bologna and Rome, where he drew inspiration from Carlo Maratta, the great prince of the Accademia, this painter soon became one of the most renowned masters of his time, especially in the fields of large fresco decorations and altar pieces. The works he created in Piedmont, in Novara and especially in Torino, bear witness to the quality of his artistic endeavours: the capital city of Savoy preserves the wonderful evidence of his mastery in the chapel of the Congregazione dei Banchieri e dei Mercanti and in Palazzo Barolo.
The exhibition, designed and curated by Superintendent Edith Gabrielli, is developed around about thirty works coming from churches, palaces and museums from all around Italy. Most of them were created by Legnanino himself, like the altar piece from the Roman church of San Francesco a Ripa – his first known work – or the great telero of Miasino. Other works witness the activity of his masters and peers, from Carlo Maratta, present with three exceptional works, among which the Fuga in Egitto di Sant’Isidoro, to Andrea Pozzo, and to Daniele Seiter: of the latter will be shown specifically, thanks to a grant from Chieti’s Procura della Repubblica, a beautiful altar piece made for Torino’s Church of Santa Cristina, currently subject to judicial attachment.
The installation is directed by Architect Salvatore Simonetti, who also directed the Palace’s restauration works.