Associazione Mario Bertozzi ODV
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47034 Forlimpopoli (FC)
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Casa Bertozzi Centro d’Arte e Documentazione - Forlimpopoli (FC)
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A museum and a monument, a place of memory and of celebration of the genius of Michelangelo and, at the same time, a sumptuous baroque display and exhibition of the rich art collections of the family, the Casa Buonarroti offers one of the most unique visitor experiences among the many museums of Florence.
First of all it offers the pleasure of seeing two famous reliefs in marble, masterpieces of the young Michelangelo: the Madonna of the Stairs, an intense witness to his passionate study of Donatello, and the Battle of the Centaurs, an eloquent testimony of unquenched love for classical art.
No less meaningful for those who enter the great doors of the seventeenth-century palace in Via Ghibellina 70 in Florence, is connecting the works of Michelangelo to the worldly affairs of the Buonarroti family. They spared no expense in enlarging and decorating their residence—a place where they preserved a precious cultural heritage (including important archives and a library) and rare collections of art: paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and archaeological objects which today are displayed on the two floors of the museum.
On the second floor, a specially furnished room presents a rotating display of selections from the Casa’s collection of two hundred and five precious sheets by Michelangelo. Let us briefly recall their history.
In a famous passage from his biography of Michelangelo, Giorgio Vasari says that the artist, as a sign of his desire for perfection, decided, before his death in Rome in 1564, to burn “many drawings, sketches, and cartoons made with his own hand, so that no one would see the labors he endured and the ways he tried out his own genius, in order to appear nothing but perfect.”
Fortunately, when he died, many of Michelangelo’s drawings were in Florence in the hands of the family, and his nephew Leonardo recovered more of them in Rome. Around 1566 his nephew gave the Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I dei Medici, a goodly number, in order to satisfy his collecting desires, as well as the Madonna of the Stairs and what was still left in Michelangelo’s studio in Via Mozza, which he had left thirty years earlier when he moved from Florence to Rome.
The Buonarroti family’s collection of Michelangelo’s papers was at this point the richest in the world—and still is, with its more than two hundred pieces, despite all the serious assaults it has suffered. At the end of the eighteenth century the collection was impoverished when the revolutionary Filippo Buonarroti, already exiled in Corsica, made an initial sale to French painter and collector Jean Baptiste Wicar.
In October 1858, the collection was further reduced when Cavalier Michelangelo Buonarroti sold some sheets to the British Museum. A few months earlier, Cosimo Buonarroti, last direct heir of the family, had died. He owned the largest part of Michelangelo’s papers, including the drawings. In his will he left them all to be enjoyed by the public, together with the palace in Via Ghibellina and its contents.
Beginning in 1859, the precious drawings were left exposed for long years in frames and showcases in the Casa Buonarroti, which had become a museum. It was not until 1960 that they were withdrawn from such careless custody. They were then taken to the Prints and Drawings Department of the Uffizi and restored. Only in 1975 were they returned to Casa Buonarroti. At present, the rotating display of the invaluable sheets within the museum adheres to the most current conservation principles.
The significance of Casa Buonarroti is not limited, however, to the celebration of such an extraordinary figure as Michelangelo, although it possesses and exhibits works and documents about him that are enriched by gifts added to the family patrimony or pieces consigned on deposit by Florentine museums. Among these, two famous works by Michelangelo, the Wooden Model for the Facade of San Lorenzo and the enthralling River God, a large preparatory model for a statue that was never made for the New Sacristy. There are also the two sixteenth-century Noli me tangere paintings, which are based on a lost preparatory cartoon by Michelangelo.
The idea to create a sumptuous building to glorify the family and especially its great ancestor goes back to the above mentioned Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger, an eminent literary figure and cultural leader who, beginning in 1612 and for approximately the next thirty years, employed on the palace interior and particularly in the gallery and its three adjacent rooms the greatest artists working in Florence: from Empoli to Passignano, from Artemisia Gentileschi to Pietro da Cortona, from Giovanni da San Giovanni to Francesco Furini and the young Jacopo Vignali.
In these splendid rooms, Michelangelo the Younger placed the most valuable pieces of his collection, many of which are still part of the museum tour, among them, a wooden predella with Stories of St. Nicholas, the masterpiece of Giovanni di Francesco, a follower of Domenico Veneziano.
In the life of an institution whose principal goal is research, one cannot forget the annual schedule of exhibitions relating to the cultural, artistic, and historical heritage and memories of Casa Buonarroti that go beyond Michelangelo and his time.
For many years now, such exhibitions have gained international renown, both for the value of the loans and originality of the themes addressed and also for the sound scholarship of the catalogues that accompany them.
Lorenzo Campeggi was an Italian cardinal, Catholic bishop and diplomat in the service of the Papal States. Born in Milan on 7 November 1474 to Giovanni Zaccaria Campeggi and Dorotea Tebaldi, Lorenzo was the first of five brothers. He studied in Pavia and Padua, and then obtained a doctorate in utroque iure in Bologna. In 1500 he married Francesca Guastavillani, with whom he had five children, three boys and two girls. Widowed in 1510, he decided to embrace an ecclesiastical career, becoming one of the most valid champions of the Catholic Church of that period. In 1511 Pope Julius II appointed him auditor of the Sacra Rota and, later, entrusted him with an extremely important mission: the nunciature to the Emperor Maximilian I. Returning to his homeland the following year, he was appointed Bishop of Feltre and obtained delicate diplomatic posts. which he conducted with the prudence and skill that distinguished him. In 1513 he went to Germany for the second time, where he remained for four years, obtaining so much esteem from the emperor that Maximilian I recommended him to the Pope for the dignity of cardinal, which Leo X welcomed in 1517. Later , Lorenzo was sent to England to Henry VIII: here too Campeggi managed to win the respect and sympathy of the English sovereign, who gave him the palace of the English ambassadors in Rome, six thousand gold scudi, ten stupendous horses, precious pottery and moreover, he had him nominated by the Pope Bishop of Salisbury. Not satisfied with this, in 1523 Henry VIII also appointed him cardinal protector of England.
Returning to Rome in that year, Lorenzo was declared Bishop of Bologna and, in January 1524, as legate for Germany, Hungary and Bohemia, made a long diplomatic trip to various cities to try to stem the Lutheran heresy and promote religious pacification. In 1527, during the Sack of Rome, Clement VII delegated some distinguished cardinals, including Lorenzo Campeggi, to deal with the invaders. Furthermore, the following year Lorenzo was sent back to Henry VIII by the Pope, with the arduous task of dissuading the English sovereign from dissolving his marriage with Catherine of Aragon in favor of Anna Bolena, an undertaking that did not go to fruition despite his valiant mediation efforts. Back in Italy, Lorenzo welcomed Charles V to Bologna, where he attended the ceremony for his coronation together with Clement VII, which took place on 24 February 1530 in the Basilica of San Petronio. Later, the Emperor himself wanted him by his side as papal legate to the Diet of Augusta, the most important legation of the entire life of the Campeggi. Due to his precarious health conditions, the now over sixtyyear- old Cardinal no longer took up diplomatic posts, but opened the ecumenical council convened in Vicenza in 1538. After returning to Rome, he died there on July 19, 1539.
In exchange for an entire existence in the service of the Church, Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggi obtained the fiefdom of Dozza from the Pope in 1529: on the one hand, the pontiff intended to reward Campeggi for the countless efforts and brilliant victories achieved in favor of the Holy See, from The other was indebted to him for four thousand gold ducats, which the Apostolic Chamber was unable to satisfy due to the consequences of the Sack of Rome a few years earlier. Lorenzo Campeggi was a distinguished diplomat and politician of 16th century Italy, a man of high values and great talents. Thanks to its enterprises, the Castle of Dozza became part of the possessions of the noble Campeggi family, becoming its prestigious residence, as well as feudal representative office, from 1529 to 1960.
CASTLE OF DOZZA
Lying on the crest of a hill overlooking the valley of the Sellustra river and gently sloping down towards the Via Emilia between Imola and Bologna, Dozza is a small ancient village with a millenary history and a still well-preserved medieval urban layout. The historic center of Dozza, with its characteristic spindle shape, is made up of narrow and colorful streets that rise upwards to the Castle. The integrity of the original building fabric has been safeguarded and the close symbiosis between the majestic Rocca at the top of the town and the residential settlement below communicates the harmony between nature and human intervention.
The Castle of Dozza, also known as Rocca Sforzesca of Dozza, is a complex building with a centuries-old history, which from the time of its construction, which can be placed around the mid-thirteenth century, has undergone numerous expansion and functional adaptation interventions, attributable to three main phases, still clearly visible within the museum visit itinerary. The fortress was inhabited until 1960, when it was sold to the Municipality of Dozza,
which opened it to the public as a house-museum. The museum is managed by Fondazione Dozza Città d'Arte and since 2006 has been recognized as a "Museum of Quality" by the Emilia-Romagna Region, Institute for Cultural and Natural Artistic Heritage.
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE FORTRESS
The Castle of Dozza was built around 1250 by the will of the Municipality of Bologna and, later, it was considerably modified and enlarged to meet the needs and requirements of the various owners who followed one another. During the Middle Ages, in fact, the strategic position on the border between Bologna and Romagna made the castle of Dozza the subject of strong disputes between Bologna and Imola, between Guelphs and Ghibellines, between the Lords of Romagna and the Church of Rome. Precisely because of these vicissitudes, the Castle was affected by numerous modifications, destructions and reconstructions until, at the end of the fifteenth century, it became part of the Riario-Sforza domains. First the count Girolamo, then the countess Caterina started substantial fortification interventions, which transformed the fortress into a real military fortress. The current external aspect of the fortress dates back to the Sforza period; using skilled and expert workers, such as the military architect Giorgio Marchesi, the Riario-Sforza family had the mighty rounded towers, the deep moat and the side entrance with a drawbridge built. These fortifications will allow the fortress to withstand the attacks of the enemies in the years to come.
At the beginning of the 16th century Dozza came under the direct control of the Holy See and, in this circumstance, two important Bolognese senatorial families appeared on the scene, the Campeggi and the Malvezzi, who with alternating vicissitudes will hold the Rocca for over four centuries. If the current external aspect of the Castle brings to mind the medieval period, the same cannot be said for the interior, given that the layout of the building with courtyards, atrium, entrance hall, stairs, as well as the organization of the noble floor, they are largely attributable to the Renaissance period with the lordship of the Campeggi, then Malvezzi-Campeggi. In fact, around the first half of the sixteenth century, Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggi, a prestigious diplomat in the service of popes Julius II, Leo X and Clement VII, boasted substantial credits from the apostolic chamber which earned him the fiefdom of Dozza in 1529. Thus, between 1556 and 1594 the counts Vincenzo, Annibale and Baldassarre Campeggi undertook massive renovations in order to transform the fortress from a fortress into a noble residence and feudal seat of representation.
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY RESIDENCE
With ups and downs, further transformations and extensions of the palace-fortress followed one another during the eighteenth century. Already during the seventeenth century, Count Tommaso Campeggi had enlarged the Sala Grande on the first floor, significantly transforming the external volumes and completing the organization of the noble floor. The eighteenthcentury inventories refer to an already completed building, characterized by furnishings and
paintings of great value. In 1728, on the death of Lorenzo Campeggi, the last male of the family, the fiefdom of Dozza passed by inheritance to his sister Francesca Maria, wife of Matteo Malvezzi, who transferred the feudal rights to the latter family. The son of Francesca and Matteo, Emilio, was the first to unify the name of the families in Malvezzi-Campeggi, who lived in the Castle of Dozza until 1960.
Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, which faces Palermo’s seafront, was built in the second half of the 17th century atop the Spanish military casemates behind the 16th century city walls. At the beginning of the 16th century, a crucial moment for the naval supremacy in the South Mediterranean, Spain fortified Sicilian cities with new walls. Ramparts were built for defence against the new artillery warfare. Palermo’s seafront was protected northwards by the fort of Castellamare, southwards by the bastion of Vega, and the bastion of Tuono was built in-between. The area behind the ramparts was militarized, and only in the second half of the 17th century the first palaces were built. The bastion of Tuono was pulled down around 1720, the bastion of Vega at the end of that century. The first buildings were the Branciforte di Butera palace and the Noviziato dei Crociferi. The Lanza Branciforte family owned the whole bastioned front from Porta Felice, one of the city gates, to the bastion of Tuono. The buildings behind the bastion were handed over to the Gravina family. The Gravinas then leased them to the Theatine fathers, who created there an Imperial College for the education of young aristocrats. The College was founded during the Spanish war of succession and in 1728, the foundation year, Palermo acknowledged as its king Charles VI of Habsburg. The College was closed down in 1768 and the palazzo was bought by Giuseppe Amato, Prince of Galati. The Prince unified the frontage on the sea in Vanvitelli style, adding the 50m long and 9 m wide terrace. In 1849, the palazzo was bought by Prince Giulio Fabrizio Tomasi di Lampedusa with the indemnity paid by the king of Naples for the expropriation of the island of Lampedusa. Giulio Fabrizio, an amateur astronomer, would be the model for the main character in “The Leopard”, the novel written by his great-grandson Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
In 1862 the De Paces, rich ship-owners related to the Florio family, bought half of the palazzo and transformed it according to the taste of the period. An imposing staircase was created using marbles salvaged from the demolitions made for the building of the Massimo Opera House. A grand ballroom was built with a wooden floor made of alternating walnut and cherry staves.
In 1948 Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, who had lost his family palazzo in the bombing of April 23rd, 1943, bought the De Pace’s property and lived there until his death in 1957. His adoptive son Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi has unified the whole property and thoroughly restored the building. The furnishings of the ballroom and the writer’s library are mostly from the destroyed Palazzo Lampedusa, the furnishings, pictures and objects of the other rooms are from Palazzo Lanza di Mazzarino. The main charm of the palazzo rests in its location and the grandeur of serene space and glorious sunlight. Its interior decoration is typical of the great houses of Palermo’s aristocracy and contains a valuable collection of furnishings from the great Sicilian cabinet-makers.
The Lanza Branciforte family, of Swabian origin, moved to Sicily in the 13th century. Besides holding the title of Count of Mazzarino also held that of Prince of Butera, first among the peers in the Kingdom, and of Prince of Trabia, second among peers. The Tomasi family stands out in the 17th century for the mystical inclination and the devotion of its members, notably the Saint Duke, Giulio Tomasi, founder of the city of Palma di Montechiaro. Among his children were Cardinal Saint Giuseppe Maria Tomasi and the Venerable Sister Maria Crocifissa, author of mystical texts, buried in the Benedictine Monastery of SS Rosario in Palma di Montechiaro.