The facility preserves original plaster models by the sculptor Giulio Monteverde, born in Bistagno in 1837 and is one of five gipsoteche that have become museums in the Piedmont region, along with those of Leonardo Bistolfi in Casale Monferrato, Davide Calandra in Savigliano, Pietro Della Vedova in Rima San Giuseppe and Paolo Troubetzkoy in Verbania.
A highly regarded sculptor
Monteverde was a renowned sculptor during the nineteenth century and author of important public and sepulchral monuments, creator of some famous plastic groups such as young Colombo, The genius of Franklin, Edward Jenner who inoculates the smallpox vaccine to his child and Angelo Oneto.
Monteverde, who was quite appreciated by the Royal Family, was also an influential public figure awarded with various honors and political and cultural positions: he became a senator of the Kingdom and was member and honorary professor of the most prestigious European art academies.
The origin of the gipsoteca
The first origin of the gipsoteca is located in the Monteverde Rome atelier, where he worked for most of his life.
The casts were the models of the sculptures, which he gradually made and then converted them into durable materials. In the Piazza Indipendenza building there were two “magnificent halls” specifically for exhibiting the casts, a sort of private museum that bore witness to the stages of the long artistic career of their author.
Monteverde died in 1917 and two years later his daughters, at the express will of the father, donated the plaster casts to the city of Genoa, which, for various and complex reasons, was unable to provide for their proper preservation and enhancement: as a result, during the twentieth century, the plaster casts were ceded through donation or loan to the town of Bistagno.
The current museum exhibition dates back to 2001.
An example of enhancement
This museum has seen a new momentum in its enhancement particularly in the last four years, under the guidance of director Chiara Lanzi.
The first three years were almost entirely absorbed by the need to resolve some serious conservation problems; this objective was achieved and it was possible to present the results obtained at the last Italian Congress of the International Institute for Conservation, held from October 22 to 24 in 2015 at the La Venaria Reale Center for Conservation and Restoration.
Once the preservation problems were out of the way, enhancement was given priority: the most significant recent event was the Dialogo (Dialogue) exhibition, which took place between the summer and autumn of 2015, and saw the casts ‘dialogue’ with painting and colored material by the English artist Paul Goodwin.
Quite important as well was the organization of a series of lectures on the figurative culture of the territory that enabled to train a small team of museum professionals responsible for the museum’s opening and visiting activities.
When to visit the Gipsoteca?
From spring to autumn it is open all Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
During other periods of the year opening hours and guided tours are available by appointment, by calling 0144.79106 or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.