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1899 – Giovanni Battista Crosato, Sacrifice of Iphigenia (first half of the 18th century), purchase

The sketch for a curtain was made by this painter, most likely when he was a stage designer for the Teatro Regio in Turin. His activity is documented with a chronology that coincides with his many sojourns in Turin. The work is inspired by the sacrifice of Iphigenia found at the Royal Lodge of Stupinigi.

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1894 – Luigi Prinotto, Closed flap secretary, 1725, purchase

Embellished with scenes of celebrations, farm life, and hunting, based on sketches probably provided by the painter Pietro Domenico Olivero, this desk is the work of a cabinet maker and inlayer specialized in richly adorned furniture, which nonetheless follows deep-rooted tradition. Here instead the patron preferred the more modern style of Piffetti.


1893 – Bolognese miniaturist, Bible, 1280 circa, purchase

This is the only 13th-century manuscript part of the collection of illuminated codices found at the Museum that was formed in the late 1800s and is full of works from the 15th century. This codex illustrates the context of the Po Valley during the 13th century, a crossroads for significant exchange—in painting, sculpture, goldsmithery, and illumination—of Byzantine and Western figurative culture.

140 VD

1890 – Lorenzo Monaco, Madonna with Child and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, 1408

This glass is part of the gilded and painted works donated to the Museo Civico by Emanuele Tapparelli d’Azeglio. The work can be attributed to the early production of Lorenzo Monaco, inspired by Giottoesque Florentine painting and early international Gothic art

94 VD

1890 – Late Roman art, Medal with female portrait: Marcia Otacilia Severa (mid-3rd century AD)

This medal is from the collection of works in glass from Marquis Emanuele Tapparelli d’Azeglio, entirely donated to the Museum in 1890. It depicts the empress, the wife of Philip the Arab (244–249).

291 PM

1890 – Tino di Camaino, Madonna with Child (1312–1315 circa)

This work is the gift of Emanuele Tapparelli d’Azeglio, former minister of Vittorio Emanuele II in London and subsequently director of the Museum until 1890. The Madonna stands above an octagonal-shaped base, surrounded by an inscription in Latin in Gothic lettering with the artist’s signature. The pose of the figure derives from works by Giovanni Pisano, yet is different for the image’s solemnity and less pathos-filled style.


1890 – Vittorio Avondo, Museum director and his donation

A painter, antiques dealer, city councilor, and member of numerous cultural institutions, Vittorio Avondo was interested in art since his youth. In 1872 he purchased the castle of Issogne (Aosta), which he restored and refurnished, and then collaborated on building the Borgo Medievale in Turin and restoring the Casa Cavassa in Saluzzo. In 1890 he followed Tapparelli d’Azeglio as director of the Museo Civico: when he died his art collection was donated to the Museum.

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1886 – Unknown Savoy portraitist, Portrait of Catalina Micaela of Austria, Wife of Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy (1590–1595), purchase

Identifying this portrait was based on a comparison with the portrait of the duchess painted by Giovanni Caracca in 1585 for her wedding (today kept at the Museum of Casa Cavassa in Saluzzo). In the background is a glimpse of the gallery that once joined Palazzo Madama, the Acaia castle at the time, with the Bishop’s Palace, where the new Palazzo Ducale of the Savoy family would later be built. This painting offers an important visual testimony of the connection between both palaces that was definitively demolished in the 1800s.

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1883–1885 – Archeological studies of Alfredo d'Andrade

Assessment of the building begins through surveys and excavations thanks to the Portuguese architect and scholar, who one year earlier began working on the project to build the Borgo Medievale in the Parco del Valentino. Collaborators include Vincenzo Promis, Vittorio Avondo, Cesare Bertea, and Federico Pastoris. Its entire past was explored, starting from Roman times, and the building was restored, such as freeing the structure from external additions and uncovering ancient decorations or closed-off spaces.

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1883 – Meissen Manufacture (Johann Gottfried Klinger), Plate (1740 circa), purchase

Carlo Francesco Vincenzo Ferrero Marquis of Ormea, whose coat-of-arms appears on the plate, was the Savoy ambassador to the Electorate of Saxony. In around 1730 he commissioned a set of plates to the painter Johann Gottfried Klinger, active starting in 1726 at the Meissen manufacture. Three other pieces are found in the collections of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.

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1879 – Pietro Piffetti, Kneeling-stool, circa 1750, bequest

This kneeling-stool was made by the cabinetmaker who more than any other artisan characterized and glorified Piedmont art in the 1700s. He worked for the Savoy and their court and created numerous objects, some signed or documented while others can be attributed to him for their unmistakable style. The Museo Civico d’Arte Antica has 12 works by this artist.


1879 - Emanuele Tapparelli d’Azeglio, Museum director and his donation

His diplomatic career brought him to Europe’s main capitals, where he met antiques dealers, experts, and collectors. Upon returning to Turin, he donated to the Museum his own collection of Italian majolicas and ceramic. After his death, his graffito and gilded works in glass were also donated to the Museum. As director (1879–1890), the Museum developed as a place for industrial applied arts, based on the example of the prestigious South Kensington Museum in London (today Victoria & Albert Museum).

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1876 – Calpini donation of Mesoamerican art

The objects in the bequest to the Museo Civico come from Mexico, the country where Zaverio Calpini lived from 1848 to 1867 and where he traded technical products (instruments for optics, engineering, drawing). He later became honorary consul of Italy. The more significant objects include a labial ornament from 1200–1521, which was probably made by talented Mesoamerican artisans, a population from Oaxaca who were asked by the Aztec conquerors to create precious objects or were instead deported to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the empire.

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1876 - Simon Marmion, Book of Hours, 1460–1465, purchase

The codex is decorated by 29 very elegant grisaille miniatures with brushed gold details. The miniatures by Marmion, an artist from northern France, are influenced by the Flemish painting of Rogier van der Weyden and by French miniatures from the second-half of the 1400s, from the master of Moulins to the great Jean Fouquet.

386 PM

1875 – Piedmont sculptor, Marble transenna (820–830 circa)

The marble slab comes from the liturgical furnishings of the ancient Church of San Salvatore, which was part of the medieval compound of the Turin Duomo. The building was demolished in 1490, by will of Cardinal Domenico Della Rovere, so as to build a new Renaissance church, the present-day Cathedral of San Giovanni. Salvaged, along with other elements, by the humanist Filippo Vagnone, it was moved to Castelvecchio di Testona, where it remained until it was purchased by the Museum.

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1874 – Doccia, Ginori manufacture, Faun in the Uffizi Tribue (1750 circa)

The sculpture, a gift of Emanuele Tapparelli d’Azeglio, belongs to the white porcelain production of Ginori. The model is a Hellenistic sculpture from the 3rd century AD: the “Faun, dancing and playing the cymbals” was present in the Medici collections and displayed in the Uffizi Tribune. The great notoriety of this ancient marble work led to its reproduction in varying sizes and materials. The work at the Museum, in a life-size dimension, is probably one of the most valuable replicas, made by Gasparo Bruschi, head model maker at the Tuscan manufacture.

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1874 – Claudius Innocentius du Paquier manufacture, Clock (1725)

A rare example in the early career of the Viennese manufacture of Claudius Innocentius du Paquier, it combines Chinoiserie and Baroque elements and represents one of the most important works in the gift of Emanuele Tapparelli d'Azeglio to the Museum. The back bears a painted writing: "In the year of our Lord 1725."

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1872 – Austral islands, Ceremonial paddle, pre-1872

Gift of Ernesto Bertea. These were used during dances, as in many other areas of Polynesia. Subsequently they became important trade objects with Europeans. The handle bears female anthropomorphic figures that call to mind the image of the goddess Arununa, sculpted on a large monolith in the isle of Raivavae.

461 PM

1871 - Agostino Busti called il Bambaia, Four pilasters and two reliefs with battle scenes, for the tomb of Gaston de Foix (1515–1523)

Acquired by the Savoy collections, they were intended for the tomb dedicated to the Duke of Nemours, nephew and lieutenant of Louis XII, who had died in the battle of Ravenna in April 1512. Work was started on the monument, but it was never actually completed, for the Church of Santa Marta in Milan: a drawing is today held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London that can give an idea of the overall appearance. The parts that can be traced back to the project are today found at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

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1871 – Embriachi workshop, Triptych with scenes from the Life and Passion of Christ (early 15th century)

The work reached the Museum thanks to an exchange with the Museo di Antichità. It came from the collections of the Dukes of Savoy, where it may have arrived at an even earlier date, perhaps in the early 15th century during the reign of Amedeo VIII, that is, at the moment of greatest splendor for the Embriachi workshop at courts across Europe. It was used as a small altarpiece for private worship.


1867 – Gastaldi donation of prehistoric objects

Geologist, paleontologist, and enthusiast of Alpinism, Bertolomeo Gastaldi donated his vast collection to the Museo Civico, where he became director in 1875. In 1880 the family donated to the Museum other objects as well, including several coats-of-arms in stone found locally and saved from destruction.

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1867 - Pietro Vaser (?), Christ among the Doctors, 1503, purchase

The Museum’s general inventory mentions that this panel, along with another one, which depicts the flight into Egypt, belonging to the same window, comes from the Castle of Issogne. Both works most likely made up the right window of the small chapel presbytery, which bears the coat-of-arms of the Challant. The cartoons were instead probably provided by Pietro Vaser, an artist from Geneva.

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1867 – Lombard sculptor (?), Sarcophagus of Filippo Vagnone

A work made in the late 15th century, on deposit by the Economato Benefici Vacanti of Turin. It came from the Villa Lascaris, near Pianezza. This sarcophagus presents the coat-of-arms of the Vagnone family, a funerary inscription, and reliefs inspired by mythological subjects. The vast humanistic knowledge and literary sensibility of the client leads one to believe that it was Filippo Vagnone, a member of one of Renaissance Turin’s most notable families, who chose the decorations for his own final resting place.


1865 – Royal Picture Gallery moves to the Savoy Gallery

The installation of the Sala del Senato Subalpino on the first floor of Palazzo Madama in 1848 and the use of some adjacent rooms for the offices of deputies compromised the available space and access to the objects on display. Even though with the Unification of Italy the Assembly left Turin for Florence, the new location for the Picture Gallery became a priority and the collection of paintings was moved to the upper floor of the former Collegio dei Nobili designed by Guarini, which then became the Academy of Sciences.

Allestimento via Gaudenzio Ferrari

1863 – Turin’s Museo Civico is born

Open to the public on June 4 thanks to the councilor Pio Agodino, it has two goals: to document the history of industry from the most remote times to the present, based on the model of the South Kensington Museum (today Victoria & Albert); and to collect and display modern Italian works of art. This initial set-up changes over the following decades, when archeological research and ethnography are abandoned. In 1898 the contemporary art collections give life to the Galleria d'Arte Moderna.

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1860 – The opening session of the first Parliament of Northern and Central Italy

On April 2 an intense speech by King Vittorio Emanuele II opens the session. Since the hall had limited seating, the Palazzo cannot host the first session of parliament for the new Kingdom of Italy, which convened on February 18, 1861 at Palazzo Carignano.


1855 – The Project

While proposals were being discussed on the location of the Savoy Picture Gallery and the idea for enlarging the building, the problem arose of completing the ancient parts that had been left on hold and of giving the building a unified appearance. Initially involved in refurbishing the Sala del Senato, Ernesto Melano is the architect in charge of works, having already presented a project to Carlo Alberto in 1847. Inspired by the Romantic movement, the idea was to salvage the 15th-century remains, creating a Neogothic pastiche—which however was never completed—with several inspirations, from the Florentine 1300s to the Venetian 1400s with a hint of Orientalism.

Tetar Van Elven Inaugurazione del Parlamento a Palazzo Madama

1848 – Inaugurating the first Senato Subalpino

The grand hall on the first floor, formerly known as the Sala degli Svizzeri, became the chamber for the Senato Subalpino. The architect Ernesto Melano transforms this space into a vast cavea made up of tribunes and armchairs, an installation intended to be temporary and one that would not compromise the original set-up, since it would be independent and detached from the walls. Above the grand monumental level are painted decorations of the exploits of the Savoy family over the centuries.

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1832 - La prima

With the decision to remove the most important paintings from the Castle and from several other royal residences, where only the privileged few could admire them, Carlo Alberto established the "Royal gallery" (later called Pinacoteca Sabauda) with works by many national and international movements to create a collection for the public to enjoy. In order to establish an initial and worthy venue, the offices were moved and installed inside Palazzo Madama to the apartment on the first floor, according to the choice and layout provided by Roberto Tapparelli d'Azeglio, the first Museum director and author of four monumental volumes accompanied by lithographs.


1822 – Astronomical observatory

Found inside the Academy of Science, the venue proved inadequate and was thus moved by the famous Turin-born astronomer Giovanni Plana to the top of the two Roman towers of Palazzo Madama. The specola remained until the 1920 demolition, following its new transfer due to harsh weather conditions and the need for proper lighting and stability.


1815 - Pope Pius VII visits Turin and blesses the crowd at Palazzo Madama

During the so-called “One-hundred days,” the Pope is forced to leave the Vatican, occupied by Murat. King Vittorio Emanuele I of Savoy, upon returning to the throne of Piedmont one year earlier, invites him to Turin. News reports describe that the Shroud of Turin was put on public display and the pope gave his blessing to the crowd from the two loggias of Palazzo Madama, on the side of Via Garibaldi and the start of Via Po. In 1982 another pope, John Paul II, would visit the city and the relic.

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From 1900 to 1950

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