A journey through 20th century art
The Mazzolini Collection Museum was inaugurated on November 23, 2015, on the occasion of the celebrations for San Colombano, Patron of Bobbio. This exhibition space has found a place in the rooms of the monumental Complex of San Colombano , thus completing the already rich museum itinerary created at the ancient Abbey.
Inside there are works belonging to the Mazzolini Collection , which includes paintings and sculptures made by Italian artists between the 30s and the 60s. A real revelation, which offers the public an authentic journey into the art and pictorial avant-gardes of the Italian '900, in a historical and architectural context that dates back to the Middle Ages.
The history of the collection
In 2005, the collector Domenica Rosa Mazzolini donated 899 works - 872 of painting and graphics, 27 of sculpture - to the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio, which included his personal collection and the Collection of the Simonetti brothers, inherited in 1994.
The intent declared by the donor was to make those works of art accessible to the public. In particular, the Simonetti collection, doctors in Milan, was created by its owners thanks to donations received from patients, in particular from the artists who often offered their work in exchange, as in the case of Ottone Rosai, Mario Sironi, Fiorenzo Tomea , the brothers Pomodoro and Antonio Recalcati. Massimo Campigli, for his part, painted a picture that he named Simonetta precisely to pay homage and to thank in particular Dr. Simonetti.
The collection initially included mostly 19th century paintings and some paintings by Filippo De Pisis, a painter who was a friend of the family. The picture gallery, however, was gradually enriched with works signed by great artists of the twentieth century such as Giorgio De Chirico, Enrico Baj, Carlo Carrà, Piero Manzoni, Renato Barilli, Lucio Fontana, Achille Funi .
Rosa Mazzolini was assistant to the doctor's office since 1950, and encouraged the Simonetti to attend art galleries and the Milanese cultural context, and therefore to purchase new works. Later, he inherited the collection after the death of Faith, sister of the doctor Giovanni Battista Simonetti, and then added his own, in which works by Giò Pomodoro and Luigi Veronesi appear.
The exhibition path
The Museum was therefore set up in the spaces belonging to the Abbey Monastery of San Colombano , together with the Abbey Museum , in Piazza Santa Fara. The exhibition of the Mazzolini Collection Museum opens with three rooms in which the collectors' stories and their passion for art are narrated.
The exhibition is characterized by a certain heterogeneity, due precisely to the random order with which the works flowed into the two collections, but undoubtedly responds to the taste and cultural context of the second post-war period, crossing the twentieth century and exploring the new artistic languages of the middle of the century.
In addition to the names mentioned, there are also works by Renato Birolli, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Mario Nigro, Tancredi Parmeggiani. The largest number of paintings is that linked to the names of Ottone Rosai and Lucio Fontana, and a certain numerical relief also has those of Renato Borsato, whom the doctor had the opportunity to know in Milan, on the occasion of a personal exhibition of the artist at the Gallery. Spotorno. Other names include Paolo Baratella, Ercole Pignatelli and Renzo Izzo. In addition, the exhibition also documents the activities of artists such as Giuseppe Banchieri, Roberto Ercolini, Giulio Falzoni, Donato Frisia, Elio Mariani, Gino Meloni. And it offers an interesting space to female personalities of art such as Léonor Fini, Bettina and Jolanda Cesaratto.
The most important works are Filippo De Pisis' Hommage à Morandi, Giorgio De Chirico's Piazza d'Italia, Lucio Fontana's spatial concept, Carlo Carrà's Marina with houses, Cupola with a bell tower by Ottone Rosai.
There are a total of eight works by Giorgio De Chirico , who was a patient in the studio, some of which were expressly commissioned by Simonetti to the great painter. In particular, De Chirico was commissioned to have a proctologist Esculapius, who was presented in Detroit in 1956 at a conference, and a Hippocrates refused the gifts, to point out the physician's ethics and disinterest.
But the great wealth of pictorial proposals does not end here. The collection, in fact, also boasts the presence of works by Emilio Gola, Pietro Marussig, Aligi Sassu, Roberto Crippa, Antonio Corpora, Raffaele De Grada, Umberto Lilloni, Giuseppe Migneco, Ennio Morlotti, Pio Semeghini, Antonio Sanfilippo, Emilio Scanavino, Adriano Spilimbergo, Arturo Tosi, Giulio Turcato, Gianfilippo Usellini.
In addition to Italian artists, however, foreign painters also find space in the Museum. This is the case of Sonia Delaunay, Hans Harp with the collage titled Clock, and André Bloc, and also Henry D'Anty, Raymond Georgein, Hsiao Chin and Po Yong.
Finally, although minority compared to painting, the presence of sculptures is also important. To this core of the collection belong the Christ on the cross by Lucio Fontana, and some compositions by Luigi Broggini and Amilcare Rambelli.
The art memories of Rosa Mazzolini
A heritage of great interest is also linked to the memories of Rosa Mazzolini , for many years in direct contact with the painters who made the Italian art scene of the '900 great. It was she, for example, who received directly from Ottone Rosai, while passing by while she was going to Ivrea, her latest painting, Cupolone with bell tower, which she had created specifically for Giovanni Battista Simonetti, a few hours before her death, on May 13, 1957.
The news of Rosai's disappearance came from another painter close to the Simonetti family, Fiorenzo Tomea . The latter was one of Mazzolini's most loved artists, together with Virgilio Guidi and Filippo de Pisis. The donor of the collection, in fact, knew them personally, as well as Bruno Cassinari, Paolo Baratella, Renato Borsato, Ercole Pignatelli and Elio Mariani. Many of them, among other things, were often his guests in Brugnello, the small village a few kilometers away from Bobbio, where Rosa was born in 19309.
To her personal collection belong in particular Il sole nero by Giò Pomodoro , which was given to her by her husband, and some works by Luigi Veronesi, and Paolo Baratella, who got to know thanks to another painter present in the collection: Giangiacomo Spadari. How he got to know Piero Manzoni, author of an Achrome, whom he met at Simonetti's studio.
How to get to the MCM Museum
The MCM Museum is accessed through the entrance portal of the Abbey Museum (internal corridor). The structure is closed in the months of November, December, January and February, while in March, April, May, June, September, October it is open only on Saturday with hours from 15.30 to 18 and on Sunday and on holidays with times 10 , 30 - 12.30 and 15.30 - 18.00. In July and August, on the other hand, the Museum is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 15.30 to 18.00 and on Sundays and holidays from 10.30 to 12.30 and from 15.30 to 18.00.
The ticket that allows access to the MCM Museum is the same as the ticket that allows access to the Abbey Museum and costs € 6 (reduced € 4). Discounts are available for groups of at least 10 people, children aged 7 to 14, over 65 and residents of the Municipality of Bobbio and Corte Brugnatella.
For further information or special opening request: 340 5492188 and 340 5490674 and
Extraordinary openings and events will be promptly communicated in the "News" section. firstname.lastname@example.org