Splendors of the eighteenth century on Lake Como: Villa Carlotta and the Marquis Clerici

22 Juni – 3 November 2019

The three paintings, alongside a spectacular series of eighteenth-century prints and a series of portraits of the Marquises Clerici, provide elements for understanding the first stage in the life of the villa, from the end of the seventeenth century to 1801, the year in which the last family heir – Claudia Clerici Bigli – sold the complex to Giovanni Battista Sommariva, a famous collector of Neoclassical art.

The three large Baroque paintings decorated the San Francesco Saverio oratory built by the Marquises Clerici for their holiday residence. In the mid-nineteenth century this small place of worship was entirely refurbished to its current forms, those of a sumptuous funerary chapel destined to house the monumental tombs of the Sommariva family. At the same time, the three seventeenth-century paintings commissioned by the Clerici were removed and after languishing at length in the adjacent sacristy, they were taken to Tremezzo parish church, and almost forgotten.
Purposely restored for this occasion, the cycle of canvases will return to Villa Carlotta on a permanent basis, granted on loan by Como Episcopal Curia.
Moreover, a section of the exhibition will focus on the spectacular series of eighteenth-century prints by Marcantonio Dal Re that have recently been added to the museum collections, and which depict the villa and its gardens at the time it was owned by Marquis Anton Giorgio Clerici, last great member of the main branch of the family.

A specific section will be dedicated to the protagonists of these events, the Marquises Clerici, displaying portraits of members of the family. First and foremost, Giorgio Clerici, who built the villa, then Anton Giorgio Clerici, of whom a large portrait with the Toson d’Oro insignia from a private collection will be exhibited for the first time, next to a portrait of his mother Maria Archinto and his daughter, Claudia Caterina, who married into the Bigli family, and was the last owner of the house before its sale to Sommariva.

Under the direction of: Maria Angela Previtera
Scientific Committee: Alessandro Morandotti, Cinzia Cremonini, Paolo Vanoli, Marco Leoni

Thanks to all people, who have supported the restoration project of the three works of art dedicated to S. Francesco Saverio