The Palazzo Madama collections have
traditionally offered a privileged opportunity for researching Renaissance
painting and sculpture in Piedmont: by especially highlighting the lands of the
ancient Savoy Duchy, this tradition actually starts from the late Middle Ages,
and therefore late Gothic period, with an exceptional interpreter, Giacomo
Jaquerio. The tradition from which he derives appears important for most of the
15th century, but soon other styles and approaches began to emerge. Among
the first is the transalpine and Northern European culture of the artist
Antoine de Lonhy, but toward the end of the century there is also the Central
Italian approach of Macrino d’Alba and the style directed more toward Lombard
and Po Valley experiences with Giovanni Martino Spanzotti. In fact, this last
artist would usher in the most widespread tradition in Piedmont until the
mid-1500s, with an absolute protagonist: Defendente Ferrari. Alongside and in
parallel to this, in the eastern part of the region the “Vercelli school” began
to affirm itself and soon gained its greatest advocate, Gaudenzio Ferrari, whose
success would be acknowledged even in the Duchy of Milan. This then led to the
work of the artist Guglielmo Caccia called il Moncalvo, represented in the
Museum with paintings and several important drawings.
Alongside the regional itinerary, various
works distinguish the collections thanks to acquisitions that open up in new
directions: Tuscany, with Bronzino, or the Veneto-Po Valley, with Giulio Campi.
There is also an absolute masterpiece on exhibit, the Portrait
of a Man by Antonello da Messina, one of the greatest icons in
Turin’s art collections.