Calvi Pompeo, Interior of Milan Cathedral
AH00886AFC.jpg
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1,835; oil on canvas
cm. 99,5 x 74
Signed and dated bottom right: “Pompeo Calvi/1835”
Inventory: AH00886AFC
Provenance: Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Pratica no. 879 R/780 (document not found)
Exibition: 2007, Lugano, n. 135

The painting, still in its original frame, was purchased from a private collection in 1967. It depicts one of the most typical and popular views of the interior of Milan Cathedral, which was codified into established forms as from the 1820s by Giovanni Migliara and, subsequently, by the Brera School of Perspective, to the extent of becoming the acid test for perspective painters.

In this work from his mature period, Pompeo Calvi adopts the precise scenographic model devised by his teacher Giovanni Migliara, and documented in the Collection by the version of the Interior of Milan Cathedral comissioned from the latter by Count Archinti in 1826.

The obvious similarities in the scenic composition and the arrangement of the lights and figures in the two paintings are evidence of the widespread practice of copying Migliara’s most celebrated works, which gave rise to a virtual industry to satisfy the great demand for these views. The painting in the Cariplo Collection is outstanding for its accurate draughtsmanship, but the established model has been greatly simplified with regard to the rendering of the lights and the unnatural, glossy colours.

The artist was considered a dilettante by the critics and they invariably paid little attention to him, despite his prestigious commissions and his being a permanent fixture at the Esposizioni di Belle Arti di Brera until 1842. A year before he retired, Calvi presented a large-scale perspective view of the Interior of Milan Cathedral at the Brera show, which can possibly be identified with the work dated 1835, 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. Pratica no. 879 R/780 (document not found)

Bibliography

Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, p. 228, ill. n. 422;
Paola Zatti, Pompeo Calvi, Interno del Duomo di Milano, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 38, p. 103, ill.;
Sergio Rebora, L’immagine di Milano nella pittura dell’Ottocento. La pinacoteca della Fondazione Cariplo, in “Ca’ de Sass”, n. 149-150, Cariplo, Milano, aprile-agosto 2001, p. 49;
Carlo Agliati, a cura di, Stefano Franscini (1798-1857). Le vie alla modernità, catalogo della mostra, Lugano, Museo Civico di Belle Arti di Villa Ciani, 24 maggio – 21 ottobre 2007, Edizione dello Stato del Cantone Ticino, Lugano, 2007, n. 135, p. 33.;
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. V.58, pp. 198-199, ill.

Elena Lissoni
 
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