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Civic Museum - Pinacoteca

la pianta della pinacoteca

The exhibition tour of the Pinacoteca is structured over 18 rooms on the first floor of the ex- agostinian monastery of Santa Croce. The Collection, born from the will of the countess Clara Leardi, has expanded with donations, acquisitions and loans starting from the second half of the 19th century. The Collection represents the figurative painting movement in Casale, and it acts as a witness to the historic and artistical richness of the territory, showing the central role that the city of Casale played in the national and international landscape.
Different items are included in the Collections: paintings on canvas, tablets, glass and mirrors; pottery, wooden and stone sculptures, some silver objects, the medals' collection of Giovanni Lanza, two silk tapestries and a fiammingo tapestry: many different types of objects from time periods ranging from the end of the 14th century to the end of the 19th century.


The rooms of the exhibition


  • Galleria del Settecento

    The exhibition itinerary, organized in 18 rooms, begins in the ex Corte d'Assise, now Galleria del Settecento. Originally, the gallery was one of the wings of the monastery where  the monks' cells and library were located. This part of the building would later become the courthouse offices of Corte d'Assise.
    Among the works in the exhibit, there are two big canvas of Pietro Francesco Guala, born in Casale in 1698 and main representative of the figurative culture in the first half of the 18th century.


    The first work represents Il Giudizio di Salomone, a painting that belongs to the later years of the painter, around the 1740s, when the brush stroke is more luminous. The shining blue color of king Salomon's garment, enriched by soft fur, together with the particular way of drawing faces and chubby hands, red noses and cheeks, ruffled hair, created with heavy and vibrant brush strokes, are typical characteristics of Guala's style.This is one of the first works donated to the Museum at the beginning of the 1900s from the former president of Corte d'Appello Giovanni De Marchi.


    Then, La disfatta degli Albigesi, preparatory sketch for the big painting destined to be in the right transept of the local church San Domenico, where the final picture is now located.Dated 1724, it portrays the battle of 1213 in the south of France between the cristian militia sent by Pope Innocenzo III and the albigesi heretics. In the final version, the painter portrays himself as the character in the bottom left, holding the title block with the signature and date of the painting. The chromatic contrast between the copper reds of the soldiers and the white greys of the horses references different artistic's influences from the Lombardia, Liguria and Emilia regions, typical of Guala's first phase as a painter.

  • Sala Vitta

    Sala Vitta is especially relevant, as it is named after the jewish banker from Casale Giuseppe Raffaele Vitta, a great art collector that donated, at the beginning of the 1900s, a portion of his private collection to the Museum.

    The precious polyptych on golden background, bought by Vitta on the antique market, dominates the room and was donated to the city of Casale in 1916. Attributed to a spanish painter active between the end of the 14th century and the start of the 15th century during the Aragona reign, the piece, dominated by Madonna in trono col Bambino in the center, depicts, in the lateral section to the left, Storie della vita di Maria, and to the right, Storie di Cristo. The central section ends with a triangular shaped pinnacle representing the Giudizio Universale.

  • Sala dello stendardo

    In this room there are paintings on either canvas or tablets that show Casale's artistic landscape at the end of the 15th century, a moment in which the Lombarda workshop of Giovan Martino Spanzotti acquired great importance and relevance.

    Between all the other works on the walls, there is the tapestry of Corpus Domini, attributed to a painter follower of Giovanni Martino Spanzotti and dated around 1500. The canva, made with linen strips sawed together and hemmed by a red fringed embroidered band , is painted on both sides. The processional banner belonged to the Casale company of the Santissimo Sacramento, to which the Spanzotti family were affiliated.

  • Sala moncalveschi

    This room has works from painters following the approach of Moncalvo, nickname of the prolific painter Gugliemo Caccia, central figure in Monferrato during the Controriforma time period. There are paintings of Giorgio Alberini, from Alessandria, his close collaborator, and two works from his daughter, sister Orsola Maddalena Caccia.

    Other than these, there is also an interesting Allegoria della Musica by Angelica Bottera. It is the only autographed painting of hers, made in her younger years. This painter would later enter the convent of Orsoline sisters, where she kept painting ( the monastery was founded by Guglielmo Caccia on the condition that to be accepted one had to have painting skills and virtues as discovered from the contracts that the young girls had to sign before joining the convent). The painting shows a possible portrait of the female painter dressed as Saint Cecilia, protector of music. It is noticeable the effort that the young painter put into drawing herself wearing jewels, flowers and a silk dress. The wandering and allusive eyes allocate this piece in the general category of psychological paintings.

  • Sala dei caravaggeschi

    The most important painting in this room, chosen as a symbol of the museum, is the Autoritratto of Niccolò Musso from Casale, a small canvas that demonstrates the novelty of the artist compared to other painters in Piedmont at the time and his crucial role in the 17th century painting landscape, although there are only 11 works of his still available to this day. The portrait belonged to the private collection of the noble Mossi family, and it dates back to the youthful period of the artist, maybe from the years where Musso was in Rome during the first decade of the 1600s, in close proximity to the innovation brought by the paintings of Caravaggio. The young painter portrays himself by three-quarters on a uniform dark background while holding the palette and his brushes; the look in his eyes, tense and penetrating, denotes the full awareness of his role as an artist.

  • Salone Vitoli

    This hall has the Vitoli name from the Spoleto architect Agostino Vitoli, who was commissioned by the Agostinian monks to supervise its renovations in 1787. He is the same architect that would later follow the renovations and decorations of the Civic Theater of Casale, near the city's Castle.


    Looking at the portraits hanging on the walls, visitors can learn about the main characters in the history of the city of Casale, people like the countess Clara Leardi, who donated all her family heirlooms and collections to charity when her son died, fulfilling his final wishes. Her portrait was commissioned by the Scuola di Carità to which the Leardi family left the sum of 75'000 lire. This is a full body portrait: the woman is pictured sitting, inside of a room, where the only furniture is the drapes covering the table and the carpet. The complete neutrality of the background contributes to focus the visitor's eyes on the figure of the woman, enhancing the monumentality.
    The expert painter Pagliano often tried this celebratory painting style, accentuating the mass of the body without neglecting the psychology of the model. The Countess appears caught during her daily routine, in the middle of the ordinary action of opening a box. The portrait is lively and realistic, emphasized by the asymmetry of the face and eyes that eliminate every kind of generality from the picture.

  • Sala del Risorgimento

    Here on display are the paintings meant to celebrate the achievements and characters that greatly contributed to the Unification of Italy, from the portrait of Giuseppe Garibaldi by Eleuterio Pagliano, to the portraits of Vittorio Emanuele II and Camillo Cavour, both painted by Eliseo Sala.


    Amongst these, there is a canvas of Giuseppe Reina, Ammonizione ai piccoli contrabbandieri, donated to the Comune of Casale Monferrato from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1865. The painting shows a soldier sitting down, scolding two young crying smugglers that have been caught stealing.  The painting is similar to the style of Domenico Induno, Reina's teacher. The artist emphasizes the pathetic aspect of crying children, dressed in rags with a wide landscape in the background. This last element and the comforting presence of the man, looking decisely fatherly, sweeten the small tragedy here depicted.

  • Galleria dell'Ottocento

    The exhibition room opens with a series of works from Angelo Morbelli, loaned from the heirs of the painter, showing his artistic and figurative process: from the first academic studies to the landscape painting.

    To indicate his activity at the Pio Trivulzio institute, the Museum has Scia chi... Fastidi!, in which Morbelli explores the relationship between feelings and involvement that sometimes happened among the old patients. The drawing is extremely effective in weaving elongated but strong brushstrokes and building on those to create volume through multiplying the parallel strokes and creating luminous proportions in a graphic story, typical of the divisionistic style of painting.
    The exhibition room shows even more paintings related to the historical and artistical context of the late years of the 19th century. Recently have been added more never-before-seen works by Leonardo Bistolfi, Angelo Morbelli and Eleuterio Pagliano, from recent acquisitions and temporary loans from private donors.


    In September of 2020 it was added a new painting Studio di Testa by Pellizza da Volpedo (1868-1907), from a private collector that generously loaned it for a three-year period. Well known to critics, the painting has already been published in the catalogue of Pellizza's works edited by Aurora Scotti, expert on the artist's career. 

    As this painting is now included in the collections amongside Angelo Morbelli and Leonardo Bistolfi, the exhibition is meant to show the relationship of regards and friendship between the artists, started and grown in Morbelli's house at Colma di Rosignano Monferrato.

  • Gli Imperdibili

    The “Imperdibili del Museo Civico” project is designed to enhance the most significant works of the Pinacoteca, by supplying them with a small educational panel in Italian and in English, easily identifiable during the exhibition tour by key graphic elements.
    The artworks are put on panels that highlight, with the help of specific designs, patterns and texts, the distinctive traits and history of each piece, achieving the goal of capturing the visitors' attention.

    A specific role in the project is played by colour: full tones, in harmony with the environment surrounding the piece and the artwork itself, allow visitors to appreciate in the best way possible the rich artistic heritage of Casale Monferrato.


    The artworks included in the Gli Imperdibili project are:
    - Vasi di Gerani of Angelo Morbelli
    - La Battaglia degli Albigesi of Pietro Francesco Guala
    - Autoritratto of Niccolo Musso
    - the sculpture from the start of the 16th century of Sant'Antonio
    - the Trittico Risorgimentale, which includes the portraits of Garibaldi, Vittorio Emanuele II and Cavour
    - the marble busts of Carlo Vidua and Clara Leardi

Ultima Modifica: 30 Marzo 2022