Premazzi Luigi, View of the Ospedale Maggiore in Milan
connected artists

1,842; oil on canvas
cm. 54 x 71,8
Signed and dated bottom left: “Premazzi / 1842”
Inventory: AH01544AFC
Provenance: 1987, Milan, Semenzato Nuova Geri

This painting documents the façade of Milan’s Ospedale Maggiore in 1842. Built by order of Francesco Sforza in 1456 to designs by the Florentine architect Antonio Averlino, better known as Filarete, and expanded over the centuries by the leading Lombard architects, the Ospedale Maggiore was comparable in size and capacity to the major European hospitals at the beginning of the 19th century. The perspective view of the façade, with Via del Perdono and the church of San Nazaro Maggiore in the background, is based on the tried and tested model adopted in depictions of the building by Giovanni Migliara, with whom Luigi Premazzi was associated as a pupil and copyist, and his many imitators.

The work stands out in the vast corpus of urban views of Milan by virtue of its glowing, atmospheric quality, the crisp depiction of every detail within a rigorous perspective grid, some pencil-drawn traces that can be seen beneath the thin layer of paint, and the decision to include no more than a few isolated figures so as to ensure the maximum focus on the building itself. The small group in the area of shadow in the foreground, accurately depicted in the middle-class attire and poses of the time, includes a man drawing the attention of a couple to the hospital’s façade with a sweeping gesture. This provides a clue as to the purpose of the work, a perspective view that may have been aimed at cultured sightseers or more probably designed for large-scale reproduction by the printing industry, with which Premazzi had worked since his debut in the 1830s.

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. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/731


Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, p. 325, ill. n. 625;
Paola Zatti, Luigi Premazzi. Veduta dell’Ospedale Maggiore di Milano, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 204, pp. 302-303, 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, pp. 48-49, ill. p. 49.;
Paola Segramora Rivolta, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Da Canova a Boccioni. Le collezioni della Fondazione Cariplo e di Intesa Sanpaolo, Skira, Milano, 2011, n. V.64, p. 201, ill.

Elena Lissoni
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