Sabaino Migliara Teodolinda, Interior of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Milan, with some Invented Elements
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1,845; oil on canvas
cm. 59,3 x 45
Paper label on the back, on the stretcher, bottom centre
Inventory: AH01587AFC
Provenance: Milan, Eugenio Puricelli Guerra Collection; Finarte, Auction 741, Milan, 30 May 1990.
Exibition: 1845, Milano, sala VI, p. 16

In 1845 this work was displayed in the Brera ‘Esposizione di Belle Arti’, where it was purchased by the Società per le Belle Arti in Milan, which included it among the prizes in the draw organized for its members on 2 February 1846. The label on the stretcher attests to the fact that the painting, executed by Teodolinda Sabajno Migliara, the daughter of the painter Giovanni Migliara, was won by the textile entrepreneur Eugenio Puricelli Guerra. Founded in 1844, the Società per le Belle Arti was formed by shareholders who paid an annual fee, for the purpose of purchasing the most commendable works at the Brera exhibitions, which were then assigned to the members through the luck of the draw. The organization merged with the Società per l’Esposizione Permanente di Belle Arti in 1883.

In the semidarkness of the back-choir of the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Milan, some friars are ushering a high prelate to the large double door, opening it wide for him. A warm light pours in and illuminates the scene. This free reconstruction of a historical event, in which the architectural details are depicted with complete accuracy, seems to be inspired by the visit made to the basilica by Archbishop Charles Borromeo, who reformed the Diocese of Milan and promoted the restoration of the architectural complex of San Lorenzo in 1573. The same subject had been treated repeatedly in a sizeable corpus of studies and drawings and in some works of historical inspiration executed by Giovanni Migliara in the 1820s, including Interior of a Church, which was donated to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan by the painter’s son General Carlo Migliara.

From the 1830s onwards, Teodolinda regularly showed her work at the Brera Esposizioni di Belle Arti, achieving a fair amount of success with a repertoire of perspectival views and historical scenes. They were all closely indebted to her father’s style and subjects, and included the View of Piazza del Duomo in Como that she painted for Emperor Ferdinand I (1838). She specialized in making copies – see, for example, the story concerning The Capuchin Friars Return to the Convent after Seeking and Obtaining Winter Provisions in the Cariplo Collection – and paintings in oils on silk applied to glass, including Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb and St Mark’s Square from the Clock Tower (Turin, Fondazione De Fornaris). In the 1840s, she continued to strictly adhere to her father’s models, as can be seen in works like Landscape with Church and Procession and Landscape with Ruins (1844), both in the Musei Civici, Pavia.

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. 1/3, pratica no. 879 R 836

Bibliography

Esposizione delle opere degli artisti e dei dilettanti nelle gallerie dell'I. R. Accademia di Belle Arti per l'anno 1845, Coi Tipi di Luigi di Giacomo Pirola, Milano, 1845, sala VI, p. 16;
Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 741, Finarte, Milano, 1990, n. 51, p. 24;
Paola Zatti, Teodolinda Sabaino Migliara. Interno della basilica di San Lorenzo in Milano, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 179, pp. 274-275;
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.30, p. 187, ill.

Elena Lissoni
 
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