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  • The collection



More than 1300 drawings and a smaller collection of engravings constitute the graphics collection of the Museum Palace: only three pieces are visible on a rotating basis in the hall dedicated to Tanzio, due to conservation reasons.

The drawings cover a span from the XVI until the XX Century with a consistent number of local artists, but also various works by artists from Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia and Liguria.

Gaudenzio Ferrari and Antonio d’Enrico, known as Tanzio da Varallo, are the authors of the most renowned pieces: to Gaudenzio belongs the wonderful study Head of an Old Man close to the priest in the Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple (Turin, Galleria Sabauda), a panel from the polyptych realised for the confraternity of Saint Anna in Vercelli in 1508;

about thirty drawings in red or black pencil were made by Tanzio da Varallo or ascribed to his circle, and many of them relate with artworks by the artist: the sketch for Jakob and Rachel (Turin, Galleria Sabauda) is a significative example.

Close to the graphic patrimony by Tanzio are the drawings by Pier Francesco Gianoli, local artist who lived in the second half of the XVII Century: the sheet Study for Four Heads proves this influence.

The Museum also houses a group of engravings relevant not only artistically but also historically, along with the original copper plates: the engravings by Silvestro Pianazzi for the book Works by Gaudenzio Ferrari , (1835 – 1847), realised together with the painter Gaudenzio Bordiga.

Pianazzi also engraved the illustrations for the volume The Abbey of Hautecombe , (1843 – 1844), mausoleum of the House of Savoy.

The relevance of this graphics collections, already recognised by Giovanni Testori in Palinsesto valsesiano (1964), has been confirmed by recent studies. It is significative that its formation is strictly related to the birth of the Museum, and thus to the foundation of the Drawing School of Varallo (1778) and the Barolo Woodcarving School (1835): two institutions which needed these drawings for their educational purposes.
The collection was therefore constituted thanks to the donations of artists and private citizens often related to the Museum and the above-mentioned Schools, donations which continue even today.

The Avondo , Arienta and more recently Gilardi donations are vast and well documented, even though the researchers are now more interested in reconstructing the history of these drawings, and thus the collections of many prominent families in Varallos history, such as D’Adda family and Alberganti family.