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This perspective view of the transept of the ancient abbey church of Altacomba, restored in the Neo-Gothic style by Carlo Felice, king of Piedmont-Sardinia, and his wife Maria Cristina in 1824, was shown at the Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti di Brera in 1833 together with a pendant view of the abbey’s exterior and a small canvas showing the Bellei Chapel. The artist places the chapels in succession on one side within a solid perspective framework: from the Chapel of Princes in the foreground, with the large depiction of the Adoration of the Magi by the Vacca brothers, to the high altar and the chapels dedicated to Saint Alphonsus Liguori and Saint Michael. The view ends with the monument to Count Pietro of Savoy against the rear wall. The figure of a priest on a small flight of steps almost invites the eye to follow his progress beyond the vanishing point. Migliara captures the symbolic importance of the edifice for the history of the Savoy dynasty in his meticulous depiction of all the architectural and decorative details, and, above all, by highlighting the tombs of members of the family. Evidence of the artist’s special relationship with the royal family is provided not only by this prestigious commission from Maria Cristina, but also by the award of a knighthood in 1831 and his appointment as “genre painter” to the court by the sovereign in 1833. As a result of its picturesque and romantic architecture and splendid lakeside setting, the abbey of Altacomba became a favourite subject with artists, including Massimo d’Azeglio and Luigi Bisi, and still featured in countless engravings many years after its restoration.

Details

  • Title: Interior of the Monastery of Altacomba
  • Creator: Giovanni Migliara
  • Date: 1833/1833
  • Signature: Gio. Migliara / 1833
  • Provenance: This painting is from House of Savoy Collection, Agliè, Castello di Savoia, Cariplo Foundation
  • Physical Dimensions: w72 x h56 cm (Without frame)
  • Exhibition History: This work was shown at the Esposizione di Belle Arti dell’Accademia di Brera in 1833 (no. 51c)
  • Exhibition: Gallerie d'Italia, Piazza Scala, 6, Milano
  • Type: Painting, oil on canvas
  • Rights: http://www.artgate-cariplo.it/en/disclaimer.html
  • External Link: www.artgate-cariplo.it

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