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“Around Goya in Italy. Paolo Borroni and the others. The years of change "

Exhibition at the Castello di Rivalta, 4 April - 30 August 2020
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Posted by Giorgio Hardouin on February 27, 2020
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To open the spring season of the Castello di Rivalta a new exhibition entitled "Around
Goya in Italy. Paolo the others. The years of change "by Franco Moro and the return of
one of his most appreciated exhibitions: "Journey to Europe" - grand tour of the optical views.

The work of Paolo Borroni (Voghera, 12 January 1749 - Voghera, 25 August 1819) at Rivalta Castle suggests the idea of ​​the exhibition “Around Goya in Italy. Paolo Borroni and the others. The years of change ". The Vogherese won a competition in 1771, organized by the Academy of Parma. in which he classified according to Francisco Goya. The path of the exhibition aims to reconstruct, within the spaces frescoed by Borroni himself, the cultural and figurative climate that the young Goya drew on during the years of his Italian stay.

The artistic path carried out by Borroni, first in Milan and then in Parma, up to the retirement of four years in Rome, from 1772, represents in a certain sense a similar training process carried out backwards compared to the great Spaniard then still misunderstood and unknown.

Another forgotten master of the end of the century will also be active at the castle of Rivalta, that Filippo Comerio, with whom Borroni alternates in the decoration of the new rooms rearranged by the restructuring commissioned by Giuseppe Landi following the damage suffered by the structure. Together, therefore, with the works of these in the same rooms are collected some examples of the works of the many masters, also foreigners, active in those years and decisive for the formation of Paolo Borroni and Francisco Goya during his stay in the eternal city.

What to expect from the exhibition

It is intended to constitute a cross-section of the cultural and figurative context of the time, combining the presentation of some previously unpublished works by Milanese authors and young contemporary talents with them from the most varied geographical areas who, with them, had to learn and dialogue.

The exhibited works intend to underline the enormous value of the artistic suggestions lived in our country by the great Iberian talent, acquired and become personal in its free interpretation: from the great heads of schools such as Giaquinto, Tiepolo and Mengs, also known in Madrid for the great pictorial cycles in the royal palace, to Batoni, Piranesi or Kuntze, just to indicate some of those who were approached by him in the Roman environment.

The exhibition is proposed as a place of research, addressing a mostly neglected topic from the list as it is that of their youth training. In addition to the examples of known artists, works by uncertain or anonymous authors are presented, however inherent in the context, with the aim of reconstructing the dynamics of the relationship, to submit direct comparisons to specialists and stimulate new studies.

Scientific Committee:
Filippo M. Ferro, Giovanni Godi, Paolo E. Mangiante

“Journey to Europe” Grand Tour of the optical sights

Only on the occasion of the exhibition will it be possible to admire usually inaccessible rooms, in particular, in the music room, you will find a really very interesting collection: 104 original optical views from the 1700s.

At first glance, the engravings may seem like classic views of squares and buildings of Italian and European cities, but when the room is dark, the optical views, backlit, will turn into night landscapes.

In fact, these are watercolor and cropped prints, with the application of eighteenth-century silks. The engravings, in very bright colors, with blue skies sloping towards a clearer horizon, represent streets and squares with a deliberately accentuated perspective: the windows of the buildings are purposely perforated and covered with colored papers, so as to offer, once backlit, a night version of the scene.

The optical views today are grouped in the same room, but once they were observed inside a box, one by one: just like watching a movie!

By observing them, you will be able to recognize the squares of cities such as Florence, Rome, London, Paris, Amsterdam, which were considered fundamental stages of the Grand Tour, the journey that the noble offspring took to complete their training. Very popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these itineraries could last from a few months to a couple of years.

The optical views, initially purchased as souvenirs, later became collector's pieces.

The printers were active in London and Paris, while in Italy the best known authors
they were the Remondini Brothers of Bassano.

The collection of the Zanardi Landi Counts of Rivalta, exhibited in the family castle, is entitled "Journey to Europe" and also includes the engravings called the "Prodigal Son", the only ones that do not represent views of known squares. The story of the Prodigal Son, who leaves his paternal home, was the pretext for telling a journey through Italy and the major cities of Europe.

Guided tour route:

In addition to the two exhibitions, it will be possible to visit, with the usual route, the following rooms: Hall of honor, dining room, kitchen, cellar, prisons, bedrooms, tower, museum area (dedicated to the Battle of Lepanto, museum of sacred art and exploration, museum of uniforms)


Duration of complete visit: ninety minutes
Duration visit only exhibition: forty minutes

Timetable of guided tours:

Monday and Tuesday by reservation only
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 11.00 and 15: 30
Saturday: 11 hours: 00, 14: 00, 15: 20, 16: 40, 18: 00 *
Sunday: 10 hours: 30, 14: 00, 15: 20, 16: 40, 18: 00 *
* start of the last guided tour

Full visit: € 15
Reduced visit: € 12
• Children up to 5 years old
• Journalists with request for accreditation at least one day before the visit, at the address: