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The Nineteenth Century

The exhibition begins with a magnificent sequence of thirteen plaster bas-reliefs by Antonio Canova, inspired by Homer, Virgil and Plato and belonging to Fondazione Cariplo.

The display concludes with four masterpieces by Umberto Boccioni, including “Three Women” and “Factories at Porta Romana”  dating to 1909-1910, belonging to Intesa Sanpaolo and essential for understanding the pivotal shift from Divisionism to Futurism.

Lombard painting  takes centre stage in the Nineteenth Century exhibition with a series of paintings that underline the fundamental role that Milan played as Italy’s main artistic centre during the 1800s, expressing the demands of a rapidly evolving society and the aspirations of a nation in the making.

The civil dimension of Romanticism is fully embodied by the historical paintings of Francesco Hayez, several of whose most important works are housed by the Museum. With exciting bursts of epic action, the battle paintings by Gerolamo Induno and Sebastiano De Albertis reveal the bold contribution made by Lombard painters to the Italian Risorgimento (Italian Unification).

Alongside the historical works, the various sections of the Museum retrace the development of other genres of painting - veduta paintings of cities, perspective paintings, landscapes and working-class scenes - enshrined by exhibitions and collectors as expressions of contemporary life.

Paintings by Giuseppe Molteni, Giovanni Migliara, Luigi Bisi, Giuseppe Canella, Luigi Premazzi and Angelo Inganni represent the important Lombard Romanticism movement, still relatively unknown and overlooked, masterfully depicting the city and the transformations it underwent, represented by the solemn monumental Duomo at its centre but also by the everyday hustle and bustle of the working-class neighbourhoods along the banks of the Navigli that no longer exist.

The Naturalism movement - particularly prevalent in landscape painting - began with Domenico and Gerolamo Induno, and dominated the latter half of the nineteenth century,  paving the way for the Divisionism of Giovanni Segantini, Filippo Carcano, Giovanni Sottocornola and Angelo Morbelli.Furthermore, the presence of works by Giovanni Boldini, Telemaco Signorini, Lorenzo Delleani, Federico Zandomeneghi, Vincenzo Irolli and Antonio Mancini offers a comparison with the most innovative movements from other artistic centres in Italy, like  Florence during the Macchiaioli era, Turin and Naples.

Of particular importance due the significance and quality of the works on display is the section dedicated to Symbolism which, during the 19th and 20th centuries, dominated the Italian art scene and became renowned throughout Europe. Alongside paintings by Luigi Rossi, Emilio Gola and Leonardo Bazzaro, still tied to the transfiguration of everyday life, masterpieces by Angelo Morbelli, Filippo Carcano and Gaetano Previati - created using the new divisionist technique - are testament to this movement. A modern visionary approach which in the monumental surfaces painted by Giulio Aristide Sartorio (the painter who created the grand frieze in the Italian Parliament) becomes an allegory and a lavish celebration - in its references to Phidias and Michelangelo - of the classical tradition.


Discover all the artworks of the Gallerie d'Italia

Download the informational material on the collection From Canova to Boccioni. The Fondazione Cariplo and Intesa Sanpaolo collections.


Install the Gallerie d'Italia app on your smartphone:

The app has also been designed for interaction with the museum areas and installations, thanks to beacon technology which allows the users to position themselves inside the museum (indoor positioning), receive news about museum events, and find their way around the underground areas. Furthermore, by scanning the QR codes scattered around the exhibition, it is possible to see the information cards of the works.