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Milan - Villa Reale (Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte) - Modern Art Gallery
Villa Reale (Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte): the internal fašade facing the garden One of the most beautiful neo-classical buildings in Lombardy, built by Leopoldo Pollack in 1790. The external fašade is rectangular with the central part faced with rough-hewn blocks on the ground floor, while the two upper floors conform to the Ionic order. The internal fašade facing the garden is, however, more beautiful: it's composed of five parts of which three are protruding and decorated with reliefs of mythological subjects and surrounded on the top floor by a series of statues of divinities. The bas-reliefs on the side tympanums represent the chariot of Day and the chariot of Night. The gardens, a green oasis in downtown Milan, were designed by Piermarini between 1783 and 1786, and then later enlarged by order of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph in 1857. Giuseppe Balzaretto and Alemagna turned them into English style gardens dotted whit fountais, little lakes and busts of famous man including a bronze of Giacosa and Confalonieri's statue of Antonio Richini. The villa was originally the residence of prince Lodovico Barbiano di Belgioioso. In 1802 the Cisalpine Republic purchased it to present it to Napoleon when he accepted the presidency of the Republic and he lived here with his wife Josephine. Eugene Beauharnais the viceroy of Italy lived here and in 1857, General Radetsky lived here until his death, on the 5th of January 1858. Finally, in 1859, the Villa passed to the Crown of Italy and then became property of the City Council. Now owned by the city of Milan, the Villa Reale houses one of the finest Italian collections of modern art, with a special emphasis on 19th century Lombard painting.

The Modern Art Gallery

The museum came into being in 1868 with the Marchesi Fogliani bequest which was soon broadened by other works either willed or donated to the museum. Both paintings and sculpture cover a wide range of periods from divisionismo to futurism. Antonio Canova, Domenico Induno, Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega are some of the Italian masters displayed, while the French are represented by Sisley, Gauguin, Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir and Cézanne. Lesser known to the non-Italian public, but worthy of a good luck, are the painting by Giovanni Segantini, whose memorable renderings of simple scenes of everyday life emanate a feeling of great calm as can be seen in the Two Mothers. Other noteworthy 19th century Italian artists are Vincenzo Gemito (see his beautiful statue of a Fisherboy) who treats his figures in the manner of the finest Renaissance masters, and Mosè Bianchi whose The Washerwomen confirms the master as one of the foremost of the literary-artistic movement called Scapigliatura. Medardo Rosso, the great Impressionist sculptor, has two rooms to himself. Maternity is one of his best pieces, an intensely emotional and poetic treatment of the theme of motherhood. The Venetian painter Giacomo Favretto is represented by several works. The Anatomy Lesson, is a typical example of the painter's oeuvre which reveals the influence of his Venetian heritage in the use of delicate colour and narrative themes. Umberto Boccioni, the great early 20th century Futurist, is well-represented. His Dynamism of a Human Body perfectly illustrates the artist's theory of universal dynamism. Boccioni paints a synthesis of what he sees and feels, the objects blending into one other by the play of light, colour, and line. One step beyond Cubism, the object is no longer static and immutable, but dynamic and alive.
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