Migliara Giovanni, Interior of a Church
works associated

1,832; oil on canvas
cm. 51,5 x 76,5
Signed and dated bottom right: “Gio. Migliara 1832”; On the back of the frame, paper label: “Società Amatori e Cultori/MOSTRA DELL’OTTOCENTO FEB–MARZO 19.30/1740”; at the top of the stretcher: “Città di Alessandria, Mostra Commemorativa, sez. IV n. 30”; bottom in blue pencil “n. 74”; paper label: “Sig. Laura Gagliardi/Antonini/ via Guercio 1/ Milano”; inscription in ink on the stretcher “Antonini”
Inventory: AH01723AFC
Provenance: Milan, C. Antonini Collection; Milan, Laura Gagliardi Antonini Collection (in 1937)
Exibition: 1937, Alessandria, n. 30

This painting, which was purchased on the antique market, is one of the many in which Migliara featured monumental works of architecture. The scene is set in the interior of a church with a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque elements, the perspective planes being multiplied so as to bring the viewer inside the building, which is given a particularly evocative character by the deft alternation of light and shadow. The eye moves from the major episodes in the atrium – the gentleman at the font and the prosperous family giving alms to a beggar – to follow two figures seen from behind in the background. The woman descending the flight of steps bathed in sunlight and the priest heading towards a small, dark room with only one tiny window in the distance seem to allude to the contrast between active and contemplative life. The story is developed through details that faithfully capture the architecture with its decorative and monumental elements, but also the people, ways of life and animals. Interior of a Medieval Church was shown at the Esposizione di Belle Arti in 1833 together with a large series of views set in Piedmont and Savoy, including Interior of the Monastery of Altacomba, now in the Cariplo Collection. The works Migliara exhibited at that important event displayed all the variants of his repertoire: from monastic scenes in a “troubador” style – characterised by medieval-revival settings and romanticised interpretations of historical or literary subjects – to perspective views and characteristic corners of the major Italian cities for clients from the upper echelons of society.

There is a paper label on the stretcher referring to the ‘Mostra dell’Ottocento nel centenario della Soc. Amatori e Cultori di Belle Arti’ mounted in Rome in 1930. However, the exhibition catalogue mentions a work in the exhibition owned by Antonini and entitled Portico, which does not correspond to this work in the Collection.

From November 2011, the work has been on view at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan.


Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 3/3, pratica no. 879 R/981


Giovanni Migliara. Catalogo della mostra commemorativa, catalogo della mostra, Alessandria, Pinacoteca Civica, maggio-giugno 1937, Comune di Alessandria, Alessandria, 1937, n. 30, p. 40;
Arturo Mensi, Giovanni Migliara (1785-1837), Istituto Italiano di Arti Grafiche, Bergamo, 1937, tav. XLVI;
Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 865, Finarte, Milano, 1993, n. 156, p. 75;
Paola Zatti, Giovanni Migliara. Interno di una chiesa, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 177, pp. 271-272, ill..;
Elena Lissoni, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Da Canova a Boccioni. Le collezioni della Fondazione Cariplo e di Intesa Sanpaolo, Skira, Milano, 2011, n. III.31, p.187, ill.

Elena Lissoni
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