Great success for the exhibition on the Salini Collection held from 15 June to 15 September at the Magazzini del Sale in Public building; a collection of Sienese works of art truly exceptional, about 150 "pieces" including paintings, sculptures, goldsmiths and majolica. The works have been presented in the evocative rooms of Magazzini to recreate the style and atmosphere of the Castle of Gallico.
"The architect Simon Pietro Salini is a man of tireless activity who has worked as a builder and designer dealing with civil and industrial construction works and building hospitals, roads, bridges, railways, dams, hydroelectric plants, aqueducts, devising urban and territorial plans, as well as in Italy, in every corner of Africa, in the Middle East, in China and Brazil, where he also built foundations and hospitals for charity: this character finally discovered a wonderful and silent countryside in the Sienese territory, with a small ancient village on one side, Montecalvoli, and a ruined castle on the other, Gallico, has renovated them with an almost maniacal respect for the ancient and has begun to put together a collection of Sienese works of art - paintings, sculptures and goldsmiths - which in quantity and quality.
Among these works there are over thirty masterpieces, some of which are prestigious also for their origins: the great one Painted cross of Duccio already in Odescalchi collection in the castle of Bracciano, the polyptych by Bartolommeo Bulgarini and the cusps of polyptych by Giovanni di Paolo from Chiaromonte Bordonaro collection of Palermo. And then the San Pietro in marble by Giovanni Pisano with a shocked face, perhaps because of the weeping after the denial of Christ; the Madonna and Child on the table of a young follower of Duccio who we have not been able to report to any of the known Sienese painters and we have therefore called Madonna Salini; a Christ blessing in wood of considerable dimensions, probably referable to the great sculptor known as "First Maestro of Orvieto"(That is, the anonymous artist who began the decoration of the facade of the Cathedral of Orvieto); three beautiful sculptures by Tino di Camaino; a tablet with St. James of Simone Martini; a cusp with three saints and an impressive side of polyptych with Saint John the Baptist di Pietro Lorenzetti; an admirable one Crucifixion of Ambrogio Lorenzetti; two sculptures of Goro of Gregory; a beautiful, small Madonna with Child standing very close to Andrea Pisano; a small and rare relief in polychrome stucco with a half-figure Madonna and Child, of an amazing grace but of difficult attribution, with all probability of a Sienese sculptor of the end of the fourteenth century; a superb Madonna with Child in terracotta of Jacopo della Quercia; three sculptures of Francesco di Valdambrino; three other wooden sculptures of Domenico of Niccolò "Of the choirs"; a Virgin announced in wood, covered with gold leaf, difficult to define but exquisite late-Gothic sweetness; a tablet with San Bernardino already referring to Pietro di Giovanni Ambrosi but certainly of the Sassetta; really ofAmbrosion the other hand, a beautiful and complex altarpiece with counters with various figures; two works of Neroccio, a sculpture of an angel even documented and a painting on a panel depicting the Madonna and Child with two saints.
Some works have been found to be different from the one with which they were purchased, but their presence in this collection does not fail to have a meaning: so gothic sculptures recognized perhaps as French are still part of that artistic current which was inspired by the Sienese painting of the first half of the fourteenth century, when Siena had become a Gothic outpost in Italy. Other works that were not Sienese had however had this reference by important scholars of art history.
To conclude, we are faced with a collection of great depth and a truly exceptional importance, which emerges strongly in the panorama of the history of eight and twentieth century collectors.
Professor Luciano Bellosi
(The Salini Collection, Florence 2009 pp.29-31)