For the past several years, Intesa Sanpaolo has actively taken active in Italy’s cultural life. Our bank has always seen its commitment in the fields of art and culture as taking “social responsibility”, due to a firm belief that a nationally-renowned bank should contribute to the growth of its country not only from a financial perspective but also – and inseparably – from the cultural and civil point of view.
This commitment, carried out in the name of coherent values and programmatic continuity, manifests itself in the formulation of Progetto Cultura, a long-term plan – periodically renewed thanks to the support of a scientific committee – that sets out priority interventions and is divided into a variety of artistic and cultural events and initiatives. The project draws inspiration from our faith in culture seen as a strategic axis for the development of our territories and as an instrument of civil progress and social inclusion, as well as one of the driving forces behind a sustainable economic growth.
The preservation and promotion of the historic, artistic and architectural assets belonging to the Group is amongst the main objectives pursued. The desire – perceived, rather, as a duty – to share this heritage with the community led to the establishment of Gallerie d’Italia, Intesa Sanpaolo’s network of museums and cultural venues in Milan, Naples and Vicenza, that allows the general public to view part of the Group-owned art collections.
The “network” is made up of the Gallerie di Piazza Scala in Milan – the “youngest”, inaugurated between 2011 and 2012 – which house collections of works dating back to the Italian 19th and 20th centuries, the Gallerie di Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano in Naples, open since 2007, which house Caravaggio’s The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula (widely regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of the Intesa Sanpaolo collections), as well as a nucleus of works produced in Southern Italy between the 17th and 20th centuries, and the Gallerie di Palazzo Leoni Montanari in Vicenza, the bank’s first exhibition venue active since 1999, which houses the collections of Russian icons, 18th-century art from the Veneto region and Attic and Magna Graecia pottery. In addition to the permanent artwork exhibitions, Progetto Cultura devotes these venues to a full schedule of temporary exhibitions, conferences, musical events, theatre workshops, poetry readings, didactic activities and activities aimed at “special little ones”, educational and expressive initiatives aimed mainly at young people. The goal is to make the Gallerie lively, vibrant centres of cultural processing, at the service of the whole township.
The project’s priority guidelines include contributing to the preservation of the national historic and artistic heritage, brought about by means of the initiative called Restorations, set up in 1989 and today at its 17th edition. A well-proven restoration programme centring around Italian artistic and architectural assets, supported and curated by Intesa Sanpaolo and managed in collaboration with the proper public offices – Superintendencies, regional centres and independent museums – within the framework of a virtuous synergy between the public and private spheres.
Last but not least, Progetto Cultura envisages a series of events and initiatives – exhibitions, conferences, restoration work – to commemorate meaningful historic or contemporary events (e.g., the centenary of Italy’s entry into World War I and Expo 2015).
Intesa Sanpaolo has always seen its commitment in the fields of art and culture as taking “social responsibility”, due to a firm belief that a nationally-renowned bank should contribute to the growth of its country not only from a financial perspective but also – and inseparably – from the cultural and civil point of view.
This is the philosophy underlying the birth of Intesa Sanpaolo’s museum centre, which was created with the aim of sharing its stunning artistic assets – inherited by the over 250 banks belonging to the Group: about 20,000 works of art, including 10,000 of especial historic and artistic interest. The diversity and inherent value of these collections – ranging from archaeological finds to 20th-century pieces – make the Gallerie d’Italia a destination to thrill the vastest possible audience.
In order to welcome these works, historic buildings belonging to the bank and located in the heart of the cities of Milan, Naples and Vicenza were turned into museums, and now host temporary exhibitions, cultural and scientific events and initiatives and musical programmes, as well as educational workshops and projects aimed at the more fragile categories, socially speaking.
The Gallerie di Piazza Scala in Milan were inaugurated in late 2011 with the section Da Canova a Boccioni (From Canova to Boccioni), curated by Fernando Mazzocca and devoted to 19th-century Lombard art. 197 nineteenth-century works from the Fondazione Cariplo and Intesa Sanpaolo collections are on display throughout the rooms of the 18th and 19th-century buildings, Anguissola and Brentani, whilst some of the rooms of Palazzo Beltrami – historic seat of the Banca Commerciale Italiana and a magnificent example of early 20th-century architecture – have housed Cantiere del ’900 (20th-Century Construction Site), a temporary display of part of the 20th-century collections curated by Francesco Tedeschi, since 2012. Since March 2015, Cantiere del ’900.2 has featured approximately eighty creations evolving around the theme of “shapes”, which sees both early and late 2oth-century Italian art taking centre stage.
The Gallerie di Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano in Naples, an Intesa Sanpaolo museum venue since 2007 and completely renovated and enlarged in 2014, present a group of 123 works that illustrate the development of the figurative arts in Naples and Southern Italy between the early 17th and early 20th centuries, in addition to the greatest masterpiece of the Intesa Sanpaolo collections: Caravaggio’s renowned Martyrdom of Saint Ursula, the last painting by the great master from Lombardy.
The Gallerie di Palazzo Leoni Montanari in Vicenza, which opened 15 years ago and were also renovated in 2014, greet visitors with several permanent exhibitions hosted in a Baroque building characterised by extravagant plastic and pictorial decorations featuring mythological themes. On display are a collection of Russian icons regarded by experts as one of the most important in the Western world, a collection of works dating back to the Venetian 18th century and, within the framework of the project “Ancient Times”, a shifting selection of vases from the Attic and Magna Graecia pottery collection.
The Gallerie d’Italia represent an important initiative for Progetto Cultura, Intesa Sanpaolo’s long-term plan in the cultural sphere, which prioritises the preservation of the Group’s artistic and architectural assets in addition to safeguarding the national heritage – embodied by the Restituzioni (Restorations) project.