After being closed 30 years, the Musei Civici of Monza have reopened to the public in the medieval building named “Casa degli Umiliati”, once the house of the Humiliati, a powerful religious order born in the 13th century and abolished in 1571 by Carlo Borromeo.
The exhibition develops on two floors in about 900 m2 and allows the visitor to admire the paintings and sculptures that represent the history of the city: from the archaeological and medieval finds to the paintings and sculptures dating from the 16th to 21st century.
In the first two sections on the ground floor lie the most ancient finds: engraved stones, headstones, votive altars and rests of buildings dating from the 1st century D.C. to the 4th century D.C.; among these a votive altar with an inscription revealing the ancient name of the inhabitants, Modiciates. Moreover, a small but important collection of medieval objects narrates about the life during the Middle Ages in Monza.
The third section is dedicated to contemporary art, with pieces from the Biennale Giovani.
On the first floor, in ten different areas, the visitor will find the masterpieces of Monza’s collection, with highlights from the 19th and 20th century.
The fourth section hosts the origins of the collection with paintings dating from the 16th to the 17th century, organized in different themes such as sacred, profane and still life paintings.
In the following sections there are the major works of Monza’s 19th century artists with beautiful rural landscapes by Eugenio Spreafico, views of the old Monza by Emilio Borsa, evocative views by Pompeo Mariani and the works of Monza’s most famous painter, Mosè Bianchi with his preparatory drawings.
The seventh section presents a “Portrait Gallery” with the pictures of Italian and foreign personalities who allowed Monza to become a rich and important city. Displayed in a chronological order, starting from the 16th century: princes, prelates, high functionaries, young women, poets and renowned industrialists cover the walls of the room.
In the eighth section, there are more paintings from the 19th century by Mosè Bianchi, Pompeo Mariani, Eugenio Cecconi and Guido Cinotti and the sculptures of Giuseppe Grandi and Ernesto Bazzarro.
The ninth to the twelfth section, present an overlook on contemporaneity, with works from the early 20th century until the Fifties and the display of the works of the winners of the Biennali and those of the teachers of the ISIA (Higher Institute for Artistic Industries). Among these the Italian sculptor Arturo Martini stands out with his beautiful “Leda col cigno” and Marino Marini with his low relief “San Giorgio e il Drago”. Very interesting is also the section with Salvatore Fancello’s ceramics.
Finally, the paintings in the last section offer an overview of the city and its transformations: the most famous and appreciated of them is “Veduta della contrada Nuova in Monza” by Angelo Inganni.