Until July 14, 2019, Palazzo del Quirinale hosts, in the halls of Palazzina Gregoriana, the exhibition “L’arte di salvare l’arte. Frammenti di storia d’Italia”(The art of saving Art. Fragments of Italian history), to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, a specialized unit established on 3 May 1969 to combat crimes against the Italian historical and artistic heritage.
In half a century of an incessant and intense investigative activity, and of a refined cultural diplomacy, the "blue helmets of culture" have recovered more than two million works of art from all eras.
On display 109 among archaeological finds, paintings, furniture, liturgical furnishings, library and archival assets, fraudulently torn and stolen from churches, museums, archaeological areas and private homes, by thieves and unscrupulous collectors, to be sold on the international antiquarian market. Without forgetting the works of art secured in the areas of central Italy affected by the dramatic 2016 seismic events, such as the great oil on canvas by Tiepolo, depicting the “Apparizione della Madonna col Bambino a San Filippo Neri”, saved in Camerino.
The exhibition is divided into thematic sections.
The archaeological section presents masterpieces of immeasurable value among which are included the Triade Capitolina (Museo Archeologico di Guidonia), recovered in 1994, the large attic vases of Eufronio (Museo Archeologico di Cerveteri) or the Trapezophoros with a pair of Griffins that tear a doe (Museo Civico di Ascoli Satriano), returned to Italy between 2006 and 2007 from the Metropolitan Museum of New York and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
In the section dedicated to the Renaissance, the "Madonna di Senigallia" by Piero della Francesca, stolen in 1975, together with the "Flagellazione di Cristo", also by Piero della Francesca and with the "Muta" by Raphael, the “Sacra famiglia con una santa” by Andrea Mantegna, stolen in 2015 and recovered a year later, the “Madonna con il Bambino” by Giovanni Bellini, stolen in 1970 and recovered in 1974, as well as valuable pieces by Antoniazzo Romano, Pietro Perugino, Andrea Della Robbia, Lucas Cranach the Elder, “La Visione di San Gregorio taumaturgo” by Guercino of 1630, and one of the latest findings: the fifteenth-century bas-relief "Madonna con bambino" by Andrea Della Robbia, recovered in April.
Contemporary art is represented in the section focused on the most significant recoveries, by the two priceless masterpieces by Van Gogh and Cézanne stolen in 1998 from the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome.
Next to each of the objects is the date of the theft and of the finding, as well as information about the places and methods of recovery: adventurous and daring stories resolved in a short time, or long stories characterized by a constant and meticulous investigation in every corner of the world.
The purpose of the exhibition is to relive the “stories of recoveries", as well as to emphasize the importance of the recontextualisation of these works of art in the territory and in the connective tissue where they were created, giving them back the most true and profound cultural dignity.
The last section is dedicated to the still missing masterpieces, such as the "Natività" by Caravaggio taken from Palermo and the "Bambinello" of the Ara Coeli in Rome, an open wound for the “Arma” and on which the attention is still very high. In this regard, the Carabinieri publish each year a bulletin of the stolen works of art to be recovered which can be consulted online.
A virtual space is also dedicated to ten "great absentees", the masterpieces still to be saved like "Portrait of a woman" by Gustav Klimt, "Madonna con bambino" by Giovanni Bellini, " Ecce Homo" by Antonello da Messina.
Specialized staff will guide visitors along the exhibition path and in the consultation of the database available online.
The exhibition is free of charge, but the reservation is required (€ 1,50)
Dal 5 maggio al 14 luglio 2019
Giorni di apertura: martedì - mercoledì - venerdì - sabato - domenica
Orario: dalle ore 10.00 alle 16.00 (ultimo ingresso ore 15.00)
Giorni di chiusura: lunedì e giovedì.
La mostra sarà chiusa anche dal 31 maggio 2019 al 2 giugno 2019.