By Angelica Villa
In an effort to capitalize on its large network of state-backed museum collections, Italy will send 100 works of art normally held in world-class institutions to more remote locales.
As part of the Ministry of Culture’s initiative termed “100 opere tornano a casa” (100 Works Return Home), works from 14 of Italy’s premier museums, including Florence’s Uffizi Galleries and Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera, will visit other institutions as a way of bringing traffic to less-often-visited sites across Italy’s peninsula. 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 traveled.
The initiative also marks an attempt to bring out works that have long gone unseen. Of the estimated 4.5 million objects held in Italy’s state museums, only 10 percent are on display.
“This project gives new life to works of art that are in fact not very visible,” Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said in a statement.
The Italian government has allocated €1 million ($1.1 million) to fund shipping and exhibition costs related to the relocation program, as well as restorations of some of the works.
The first grouping is set to be dispersed in the coming weeks. Among the 36 works that will travel are landscapes by 17th-century painter Salvator Rosa from Rome’s National Gallery of Ancient Art; they will now go to the National Museum in Matera. Meanwhile, sculptures and historical artifacts will depart major museums in Turin and Rome for sites in Trieste and Nemi.
Six paintings depicting religious scenes by Giovanni Baglione, Cristoforo Roncalli, and Simone Canterini have already left 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 finalized 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.
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