Our cultural heritage

Our cultural heritageThe planning of activities, in support of the protection and promotion of both public and private historic and artistic heritage, continued in 2009 with a view to constant commitment primarily with regard to the value of social usefulness of both initiatives promoted and organised directly by the Bank and those in which it collaborates. During the year the Bank therefore worked to consolidate its leadership role in this sector, on behalf of  institutions responsible for protecting and promoting the Italian cultural heritage, and at the same time – also through its two museums in Vicenza and Napoli – the Bank further enhanced its network of institutional, social and individual relations that form the main fabric of dynamic and active relationships.
The guidelines for activities undertaken in 2009, albeit with an increasingly open approach, follow the traditional guidelines of the Bank, linked on the one hand to historic and critical study, reorganisation, and restoration of the Intesa Sanpaolo art collections to render them accessible to the public, and on the other hand to contributing to the protection and promotion of Italy’s cultural heritage. These two guidelines are firmly expressed in three key activities.

The Bank’s artistic heritage and public access

For several years now, Intesa Sanpaolo has a specific project to enable the public to access its art collections. This artistic heritage is the result of a series of collecting  experiences, each connected to the history and traditions of patronage specific to the Group banks. Among the most important are the following: the collection of Attic and Magna Graecia ceramics (5th - 3rd centuries B.C.), which includes over five hundred pieces from vases to other findings from the discovery of an important 6th - 3rd century B.C. necropolis in Ruvo di Puglia (1830-1860); the collection of over 450 antique Russian icons (13th - 19th centuries), considered to be among the most important in the Western world for the quantity of authentic masterpieces, the broad timespan and representation of all the regional schools of Old Russia; the collection of 15th - 18th century paintings and sculptures (475 works) including Caravaggio’s last masterpiece, the Martyrdom of Saint Ursula; collections of Venetian works from the 18th century (70 works), as well as other collections from the 19th (over 500 works, particularly those of the Lombard nd Neapolitan schools) and 20th centuries (2,700 works), which place great masters alongside artists, schools and avantgarde movements from the latter half of the 20th century.

In this wide-ranging, multifaceted context two key objectives may be identified:

  • to guarantee protection of the works, implying preservational and fact-finding aspects, the latter based on the scientific study of the various collections. In this respect, the constant monitoring of the preservation status of the Bank’s artistic heritage, and restoration as appropriate, continues. The cataloguing procedure, organised by the archaeological, historic and artistic heritage sector, continues in collaboration with the Scientific Committees formed, for each different sector, from leading Italian and international experts and researchers.
  • to increase and consolidate activities promoted in favour of public access to the heritage.
    Worthy of mention are:
    • the publication of printed catalogues including the results of the studies, systematically presenting the individual collections, and the constant updating of the “Art Collections” section of the website: www.intesasanpaolo.com. Web site;
    • participation in exhibition initiatives promoted by leading institutions in Italy and abroad.
      There were numerous requests for loans in 2009, to which a positive response was given in more than fifteen cases.
    • direct organisation of exhibitions of Bankowned works such as Arte in Banca (involving exhibition in the display cases of Group branches of small groups of works selected from the contemporary art collection) and two events organised at Palazzo Leoni Montanari, OrienteOccidente (icons) and Il Tempo dell’Antico (Attic and Magna Graecia ceramics).
    • the extraordinary openings of palazzi of historic and architectural interest. participating in the Invito a Palazzo open days promoted by the ABI, and in FAI and Touring Club initiatives, Intesa Sanpaolo was able to open 20 historic bank buildings to the public throughout Italy.
      Almost 18,000 visitors were accompanied on guided visits of both centuries-old and modern buildings, from the late 16th century to Contemporary.

Intesa Sanpaolo museums in Italy

More than ten years on from the inauguration of the first Intesa Sanpaolo museum, the Palazzo Leoni Montanari Galleries in Vicenza, and three years on from the second, the Palazzo Zevallos Gallery in Naples, the response from the critics and frequency of visitors is highly positive.

Palazzo Leoni Montanari Galleries

The Galleries display collections of Russian icons (around 130 tablets from the 13th to 19th centuries) and 18th century Venetian art works owned by the Bank. Alongside the main activity, over the years a series of exhibition, cultural, music and educational initiatives has been developed and consolidated, establishing contact with the main local institutions and at the same time bringing a wider public to the Galleries.

  • With regard to exhibitions, in 2009 the mini exhibitions of the OrienteOccidente project continued. On each occasion a selection, varying in number, of the stored works is made on the basis of themes ranging from the Russian icon experience to developments in Western art. Until 29 March 2009 it housed the exhibition “Un filo rosso tra le dita. L’Annunciazione nell’Oriente cristiano”.
  • The series of small exhibitions entitled “Il Tempo dell’Antico. Pagine di archeologia e cultura in Palazzo Leoni Montanari” each time involving selection from the entire collection of 522 vases according to themes covering aspects of life in Ancient Greece. This first exhibition in this new series, entitled “Le ore della donna. Storie e immagini nella collezione di ceramiche attiche e magno-greche di Intesa Sanpaolo”, opened at the end of 2009, is dedicated to the everyday life of women in Ancient Greece and Magna Graecia.
  • With the aim of offering visitors the chance to compare and study topics linked to the art collections housed, the Galleries have also promoted a series of seminars, held at Palazzo Leoni Montanari, in collaboration with leading cultural organisations from the Vicenza area.

As part of activities that aim to attract the younger public, an important role is assigned to the educational workshops for students.
Over five thousand junior and high school children in the Veneto region were involved in the Galleries’ educational projects in 2009. Musical initiatives also continued, with new projects added.

Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano Gallery

The Palazzo Zevallos Gallery not only offers the chance to admire the late masterpiece by Caravaggio, the Martyrdom of Saint Ursula, accompanied by a rich illustration and multimedia study section, but also an important corpus of 18th and 19th centuries landscapes of Napoli and the Campania region, the work of two Dutch artists, Gaspar van Wittel and Anton Sminck Van Pitloo.
Palazzo Zevallos also combines its permanent exhibitions with a series of initiatives to make its treasures known to the wider public and to establish active and lively relationships with the community.
In the museum’s activities a key role is played by the educational programmes, involving over 2,000 teenagers from the region’s junior and high schools.

The contribution to safeguarding and promoting Italy’s cultural heritage

The Restituzioni project, the restoration programme that began with Banca Cattolica del Veneto and thence adopted by Intesa Sanpaolo, in twenty years of activity has restored over 600 works of art dating from the 5th century B.C. to the 19th century, including important pieces from the ancient world.
The fifteenth edition of Restituzioni, launched in 2009, began work on the restoration of works housed in museums and churches in various regions (Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont,Tuscany, Lazio, Campania and Puglia), due to end in 2011 with the traditional temporary exhibition displaying to the public the results of restoration.
As part of the monumental “sector” of Restituzioni, 2009 saw the completion of restoration works on one of the most important pages of 14th century Italian history: the frescos by Giotto at the Abbey of Chiaravalle Milanese.