Turin: Art and Culture
History of Art in Turin
Turin has always been in step with artistic and cultural movements (also in Europe) thanks to Savoia's influence, which throughout the centuries, witnessed the south Alps destiny, painters, writers, poets, architects, who, well-integrated in the local environment, were able to give personality to the future capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
It was between 16th and 17th century, in the age of Carlo Emanuele I "The great", when Turin began to have its own characteristics which differed it thanks to its avenues and straight ways, all sorrounded by Baroque style buildings.
In addition to the new city plan and to the colossal architectural buildings, it also took great care of the religious cult and huge temples were built.
Here, two very important people stood out for the propulsion for these constructions, Maria Cristina of France, to which we owe the mayor altar of the Church of St. Francis from Paola, and Anne of Orleans (Vittorio Amedeo II's first wife ) who wanted the altar of Saint Genoveffa.
In 1714 Vittorio Amedeo II called to his court Phillip Juvarra who, in a little over 20 years, projected and built sixteen buildings, eight churches and twenty altars in the city, deeply editing the characteristics of Piemonte's art and furniture.
When Juvarra left for Spain (1735), Benedict Alfieri (1738) took over who availed himself of the work of the prestigious artist Antonio Vittone.
Nowadays Juvarra's influence is clearly visible in the Real Palace, Madama Palace, Queen's Villa, Superga's Basilica and Stupinigi's, Rivoli's and Venaria Reale's castles.
In 1778 Vittorio Amedeo III built up again the Regia Accademia di Belle Arti which later became Accademia Albertina, and is today known throughout the world.
From a cultural point of view, in 1842 the Società Promotrice di Belle Arti (Fine Arts Supporter Society) was born (the first in Italy) and it soon became the centre of all the greatest exhibitions.
In 1855 also Circolo degli Artisti (art league) was founded, and thanks to the collaboration of both societies in 1863 the "Museo d'Arte Antica" ("Museum of Ancient Art ") was created.
In this period in Turin numerous cultural and artistic movements were born in which took part, among others, Domenico Ferri, Enrico Gamba, Andrea Gastaldi, Giuseppe Bertini, Vincenzo Vela and several other notable teachers of the Accademia Albertina.
In the beginning of the 20th century, two important events happened: the first Exhibition of Decorative Art and the acquisition from the "Promotrice" of the picture "Quarto Stato" by Giuseppe Pelizza, which will remain a historical landmark in the social imaginary.
Moreover, in the artistic field, during this period the with gossip covered painter Giacomo Grosso, while becoming famous, really upset the salons of the bourgeoisie with the first historic nudes, Felice Casorati , Piero Gobetti, Lionello Venturi. The last one certainly was the progenitor of the modern French art which in this period fought its way. From Casorati's school influenced Nella Marchesini Malvano, Paola Levi Montalcini, Giorgina Lattes, Daphne Maugham. Carlo Levi and Francesco Menzio, later in 1929, chose to take part in the famous "Gruppo dei Sei" ("Group of six") joining up with Jessie Boswell, Gigi Chessa, Nicola Galante and Enrico Paulucci, missing in 1999 when he was over 100 years old. Also not to forget is Luigi Spazzapan, of the European school, whereas Futurism was interpreted by Fillia and Diulgleroff, Oriani, Pozzo and Mino Rosso.
From the second world war onwards, the sculptors Nino Aimone, Romano Campagnoli, Antonio Carena, Piero Ruggeri, Giacomo Soffiantino emerged.
At the present time, Turin is the seat of the Politecnico di Torino (Polytechnic Institute of Turin), the University athenaeum for engineers and architects training and also the seat of the University of Turin which in 2004 celebrated 600 years of history; moreover, in this city some national publishing houses have a seat, among them UTET, Einaudi, Bollati Boringhieri, and the national symphony orchestra of RAI (an Italian famous television channel).
Also art collections are very significant here: in Turin we can find Leonardo da Vinci's, Antonello da Messina's, Beato Angelico's, Andrea Mantegna's artworks - but also Van Eyck's, Rembrandt's, Van Dyck's. "Galleria Civica di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea" (Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporaneous Art) is the second museum of modern art in Italy - with 5.000 pictures and 400 sculptures.