The Civic Museum of Palazzo Mosca
The Civic Museum of Palazzo Mosca: origin and history of the collections
The Civic Museum has been located in the Palazzo Mosca since 1936, the residence of one of the most important families of Pesaro’s nobility. The Mosca family, composed of wealthy merchants from Bergamo, arrived in Pesaro in the mid-1500s and soon became part of the city’s nobility. Their rapid economic and social rise allowed them to build the suburban Villa Caprile and the Palace in the old town centre, that still bears their name today.
The original seventeenth-century structure of the residence was modernized in the eighteenth century by Marquis Francesco, who relied on the architect Luigi Baldelli, a probable pupil of Lazzarini, for this task.
For this reason the Mosca residence enjoyed particular splendour: by virtue of the intense political and cultural relationships that the family established in the eighteenth century, the Palace became a lively meeting point of intellectuals and aristocrats.
In addition to Vincenzo Monti, as well, Napoleon Bonaparte was hosted at the Palace by Francesco Mosca, in that moment an exponent of the government of the Cisalpine Republic of Milan.
Residence of the Marquise Vittoria until 1844, the building remained the accommodation of Bianca, her sister, and her husband Tommaso Chiaramonti. It became municipal property after several transitions, and was chosen as the headquarter of the Civic Museum, in the Ducal Palace.
Today, Palazzo Mosca is characterised by a sober facade, dominated in the centre by a sumptuous ashlar portal. Once inside, there are three large courtyards.
The Mosca family and the Marquise Vittoria
Although the members of the Mosca family came from the world of commerce, they soon demonstrated deep and lively cultural interests.
Carlo Mosca, for example, is together with Annibale degli Abbati Olivieri, Gianbattista Passeri and with Giannandrea Lazzarini, one of the protagonists of Pesaro culture in the eighteenth century.
Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries- at the moment in which the crisis of the ancient noble regime matured, affected by the French Revolution- Francesco Mosca stood out for his political and intellectual dedication.
The Marquise Vittoria Mosca, a woman of remarkable intelligence and sensitivity, left an indelible mark on the cultural life of his city. Married at the age of forty-two to the nobleman Vincenzo Maria Toschi, who was twenty-nine years old, the Marquise Vittoria cultivated with her husband a strong interest in the arts.
Sophisticated collector, the noblewoman accumulated a substantial patrimony consisting not only of paintings, such as the beloved still life paintings, but also of fine craft objects such as furniture, ivories, glazing, ceramics, and textiles.
This vast and varied collection was not intended for the only private enjoyment of the Mosca family, but it was intended, in the Marquise’s intentions, to constitute the main nucleus of a museum of industrial arts that would serve to the education of those young people who, although endowed with some artistic vocation, had scarce opportunities to visit the most significant European museums, as was the custom in the higher social classes.
For this purpose Vittoria left in 1885 to the municipality of Pesaro Palazzo Mazzolari, which she had purchased and restored, and her family collection.
For a short time this ambitious and forward-looking project came to fruition, and in 1888 Mosca Museum was inaugurated. It displayed treasures of decorative and industrial art. The museum was short-lived, , so much so that in 1911 there wasn’t further news of it
The Marquise’s bequest, however, currently constitutes a substantial part of the collection of the Civic Museum.
Completely renovated in 2013, the exhibition itinerary takes into account both chronological and emotional criteria.
The museum collection is organised in the five rooms on the second floor of Palazzo Mosca. The first room houses one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance: the Altarpiece of the Coronation of the Virgin by Giovanni Bellini. Created by the Venetian painter in around the year 1475, it was originally placed in the Pesaro church of San Francesco. It immediately became an object of devotion by the believers, despite the complex and non-immediate mystical-allegorical message implied in the iconography, especially evident in light of the Franciscan credo.
Stylistically, it is possible to notice how the solemnity of the mystical event described in the central panel is contrasted by the vivid episodes from the lives of the saints in the predella.
In addition to the theological significance, another hypothesis links the altarpiece to the occasion of the wedding celebration between the lord of Pesaro Costanzo I Sforza and Camilla of Aragon in 1475.
The piece was restored in 2021 by the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the provinces of Ancona and Pesaro and Urbino.
In the room, in addition to the altarpiece, there are paintings from churches and convents of the city that represent significant moments in local figurative culture.
Ceramics, decorative arts, furniture and sculptures are displayed in the second room, a sort of “Wunderkammer” of the Pesaro museum. Regarding the majolica, it is displayed a selection of the most representative historiated works from the main centres of the ancient Duchy of Urbino – Urbino, Casteldurante (today Urbania), Pesaro, Gubbio – and 16th-century lustres from Deruta, from the Mazza collection. In the room there are also masterpieces of decorative art from different eras, from the Marquise Vittoria Toschi Mosca’s bequest.
The set-up is articulated in a chronological order: are of great importance the works by the Pesaro painter Simone Cantarini, particularly the pendant consisting of the Maddalena and San Giuseppe penitenti and Guido Reni’s evocative Caduta dei Giganti, probably conceived for the ceiling decoration of a private residence.
The nucleus of still life paintings, whose subjects consist of withered flowers, rotten fruits, skulls and hourglasses completes the heritage exposed; symbols linked to the theme of the transience of beauty and the fragility of human existence.
It ranges from the decorative and chromatic exuberance of Christian Berentz and Franz Werner Von Tamm to the perspective illusionism of Antonio Gianlisi Jr. There are also the eighteenth-century ceramics with the typical “Rosa di Pesaro” decoration, and important neoclassical paintings by Giannandrea Lazzarini, a painter, architect, treatise writer and ceramologist who was a leading figure in eighteenth-century Pesaro culture, end the itinerary.
The Civic Museum is also functional and welcoming thanks to additional services such as a wi-fi corner, multimedia support for visiting, a cafeteria and a conference room.
Hercolani Rossini Collection
The Hercolani Rossini collection consists of 38 paintings and one marble acquired in 1883 by the City of Pesaro, the ultimate recipient of Gioachino Rossini’s inheritance. It is a significant group of works that came to the composer on his deathbed (1868) following a cash loan to the noble Bolognese Hercolani family.
It is a representative part of the picture gallery commissioned by Prince Marcantonio Hercolani, which collected paintings from churches in Bologna and Romagna and from the antiquarian market. There are works by Emilian artists of the 14th and 15th centuries, of the Venetian Renaissance school and of the Sienese manner: among the works of the Venetian Renaissance school we can mention the precious Sant’Ambrogio on panel by Vitale from Bologna, a rare canvas with the Incoronazione della Vergine by Simone dei Crocifissi and other tablets by Michele di Matteo and by the 15th-century Giovanni Francesco from Rimini. Official portraiture also includes the imposing Venetian procurator Michele Priuli by Domenico Tintoretto.
Extensively documented is the Bolognese production of the 17th century, with Guido Reni’s Caduta dei Giganti and works by Francesco Albani, Vincenzo Spisanelli, Giovan Francesco Gessi, Elisabetta Sirani and Carlo Cignani; in the 18th century also appears paintings by Giuseppe Maria Crespi and a the beautiful Mercato by Aureliano Milani.
The rich and recent (2013) donation consists of 180 pieces collected throughout a lifetime by Professor Adalberto Vinciguerra and his wife, passionate collectors, especially of rare glazing. Adalberto and his wife were guided by their love for aspects related to the development of 20th century arts in Italy.
The place of honour goes to a precious porcelain vase by Gio Ponti, “La passeggiata archeologica,” a white urn with gold, purple and grey decorations made in 1925 for Richard Ginori’s Manifattura Doccia of which few pieces and drawings exist; it was donated in 1938 by its officers to Vinciguerra’s father, Major Pilot Giuseppe Vinciguerra, commander of the Pisa airport.
The donation includes a rich collection of rare glazing, the majority from the 1920s/’30s, author’s paintings, and furniture. Among the particularly noteworthy works are two very rare pieces of glass by Vittorio Zecchin made between 1921-’22 when Venini and Cappellin founded their furnace; exhibited at the Venice Biennale and in Monza, they marked a turning point in design. Also rare because of their colour, which is difficult to reproduce today, the vases by Napoleone Martinuzzi, who was a sculptor for D’Annunzio’s Vittoriale, and Carlo Scarpa’s plate characterised by its unique shades.
Among the most interesting specimens there are also an oil by Ivo Pannaggi, an example of the second futurism of the 1930s, one by Pietro Frajacomo, a gouache by Enrico Prampolini from the 1930s, already full of abstractionism, a small oil by Silvestro Lega, one by Giacomo Favretto and one by Niccolo’ Cannicci.
Palazzo Mosca welcomes the Perlini Jewelry exhibition thanks to two precious donations that are part of the city’s history, continuing the long historical tradition of private bequests.
The first donation by Adriano Perlini dates back to 2012; the goldsmith artist from Pesaro, present in numerous competitions and exhibitions in Italy and abroad, donates five pieces of jewellery he made, a necklace, two brooches and two rings from the 1970s; precious pieces in which the use of interchangeable modules makes the movement the protagonist.
April 2016 saw the addition of the donation of 5 more pieces of jewellery, also from the 1970s, owned by his wife and made by local goldsmith artists Claudio Mariani, Alberto Giorgi and Carlo Bruscia.
The Perlini – Gabucci donation is thus reunited and the 10 pieces of jewellery can be admired on the mezzanine floor of the Museum, accompanied by an explanatory panel and a tablet on which images of the jewellery and in particular of the various movements and transformations that these art objects can take on are scrolling.
The Vinciguerra and Perlini-Gabucci Collections are currently not exposed.
5 masterpieces from the 15th to the 18th century to be admired in the rooms of Palazzo Mosca – Civic Museum.
The Civic Museum of Palazzo Mosca
Piazza Mosca, 29
- June – September
From Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays
From 10:00 am to 1:00 pm/ From 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
From 1st to 31st August also on Monday
- October – May
From Tuesday to Thursday
From 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
From Friday to Sunday and public holidays
From 10:00 am to 1:00 pm/ From 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm
- Closed on 25th December and 1st January
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