January 2021 marked the release of the first issue of a new run of the Bollettino dei Musei Civici (Italian-language only). Originally launched in 1888, by Luigi Bailo, creator of Treviso’s first museum, this periodical highlights the achievements of the city’s various cultural bodies of the city, with a special emphasis on the extent, value, and vitality of Treviso’s artistic heritage.
Remaining faithful to the originator’s objective, which was to provide a compelling and comprehensive overview of the behind-the-scenes work at the Treviso city museums, the new edition of the Bollettino provides a wealth of information in a lively, innovative form. Available online, this 70-page illustrated publication can be downloaded free of charge by anyone who cares to know what’s going on in Treviso’s museums and other cultural institutions in terms of the collections, as well as current activities and research.
Useful to both scholars and events organisers, this publication fosters a better understanding of the potential of the area of Treviso, while also enhancing our knowledge base, and helping provide opportunities for experts to hone their specific research skills.
The first article in the 1.2020 issue of the Bollettino dei Musei Civici di Treviso explores and explains frescoes discovered during the extensive restoration program currently taking place at the Museo Bailo. Saved from destruction by the abbot Luigi Bailo from the 1880s onwards, these frescoes came from the duly demolished De Gobbis residence in the Calmaggiore, Treviso’s main street, as well as from Palazzo Rover in Piazza San Leonardo, and from the old prison buildings.
The next piece takes its cue from another of the Treviso city council’s restoration projects, this time, two seventeenth-century wood sculptures featuring Saint Catherine and Saint Dominic.
Long hidden from view in the museums’ storage rooms, and even longer considered “of limited importance”, thanks to this restoration project these sculptures were afforded a closer look. As a result, the experts were able to attribute them to Giovan Battista Auregne, from between 1637 and 1642.
Modern and contemporary art get their due, while a number of previously unpublished portraits by Treviso-born Gino Borsato (1905–1971) are written up; a powerful and highly expressive self-portrait by Antonio Zanchi (1631–1722), one of the leading venetian painters of the seventeenth century gets its own article.
As its name in full implies, the Bollettino dei Musei e degli Istituti della Cultura della città di Treviso is designed to cover all the city’s cultural institutions. Thus, a number of pieces address the city’s book holdings, with special reference to those related to the works of Dante: 2021 marking the 700th anniversary of the great poet’s death. One article examines the engravings in the 1757 Zatta edition of the Divine Comedy, by the Treviso-born Gaetano Zompini, a painter, book illustrator, and engraver.
Another intriguing addition to the canon derives from the re-organisation of the Treviso city archives: an article examining the works of the Treviso-born writer Giovanni Comisso (1895-1969), featuring the author’s own hand-written annotations.
The final section of the 1.2020 edition of the Bollettino dei Musei Civici di Treviso includes a detailed survey of the restoration works carried out in the last two years. These are almost one hundred in number, and include work on the late fourteenth-century Chanson d’Otinel fresco cycle, as well as thirty works by the painter Nino Springolo (1886–1975), sixty wood artefacts, two works by the neo-Classical painter Achille Funi (1890–1972), and one exquisite panel painting of the fourteenth century.
There were over 100 acquisitions over the same period, the largest number consisting of 76 works from the Perraro Coletti bequest. This section concludes with overviews of the exhibition Natura in Posa (30 November, 2019, various dates, to 27 September 2020), as well as of Renato Casaro: Treviso, Roma, Hollywood, which is scheduled to open on Saturday 12 June and run to Thursday 30 September, 2021.
Consult or download this issue of the Bollettino dei Musei Civici di Treviso here.