A rich exposition
The Accorsi-Ometto Museum was opened in 1999 by Giulio Ometto, who gave life to the great dream wanted by Pietro Accorsi.
The Museum is being set up following choices and parameters that reflect the taste of those who imagined it and it presents 27 rooms and over 3.000 works of art including paintings, ceramics, furnitures, decors, crystals and tapestries.
Among the excellences of the Museum, extraordinary is the collection of Pietro Piffetti’s furniture, which includes the famous “doppio corpo” signed and dated 1738, and universally considered the “most beautiful piece of furniture of the world”.
In the first rooms, dedicated to the collections of objects, the brightness of the Baccarat crystals, the polychromy of the Meissen porcelains, the elegance of the silverwares and of the snuff-boxes, capture visitors’ eyes. The following rooms keep several works including Madonna delle Nevi, an extraordinary end of fifteenth century Flemish wooden sculpture. Also important are the kitchen, which contains about 380 copper objects of many shapes and the porcelain service room, including that of Frankenthal, composed by more than 150 pieces. The itinerary continues with the dining room, characterized by a covering on the walls in chinoiserie painted paper coming from Favria’s Castle; then, the music room follows, with its fortepiano signed and dated 1818 by Erard Brothers.
You cannot miss the Louis XVI living room, with the “doppio corpo” covered entirely with maiolica tiles from Pesaro; the Piffetti salon, dedicated to the greatest cabinetmaker of the 18th century; the Louis XV living room which houses a magnificent French commode covered with Coromandel lacquer panels. Three bedrooms: the Bandera bedroom with a Bandera canvas bad embroidered with chinoiserie and two corner furnitures painted by Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli; the bedroom of Accorsi, where the objects most dear to him are to be found, such as the Lucchese bed from Villa Garzoni in Collodi, a painting by François Boucher, court painter of Louis XV and two cabinets by Pietro Piffetti, with the inlaid scenes of ivory turning; the Venetian bedroom characterized, instead, by a series of painted furniture that constitute one of the most important collections of lagoon furniture outside Veneto.
The museum itinerary continues with two living rooms dedicated to hunting scenes painted by Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli. The Chines salon with a series of rice paper panels coming from China and the Christian Dior salon, that belonged to the French stylist of the same name, composed by golden and frosted glass panels – a worthy container for the wonderful Piffetti commode – close the tour.
The Accorsi-Ometto Museum was opened in 1999 by Giulio Ometto, who gave life to the great dream wanted by Pietro Accorsi.
As soon as the visitor crosses the threshold of the entrance door of the Palace, he/she is greeted on the left by a bust representing Flora. The sculpture comes from the famous Roman collection of the Torlonia family and it was created in the second half of the 18th century, taking as an example the originals made in the Trajan age (2nd century AD), by an expert Roman forger, perhpas Bartolomeo Cavaceppi.
The portico contains a large part of the collection of ancient stone fragments already present in the Accorsi collection at Villa Paola: they are Roman and Medieval capitals, putti’s heads, parts of figures and shelves, all dating back to a period between late antiquity and the Renaissance.
Scenographic is the back wall of the courtyard, decorated with stone works of different origins: at the center and within a niche, there is a fountain in the form of the Roman goddess Pomona, from whose breasts would come water. Dating in 1573, it was built in Verona by the sculptor Simone Bonamoni. Instead, on the sides there are two marble replicas, which date back to the early nineteenth century, of the famous lions of the Campidoglio in Rome, work of Giuseppe Valadier.
On the top of the wall there is a stone shield with the coat of arms of Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, king of Sardinia.
The entrance stairway to the Museum dates back to the early decades of the nineteenth century. Its type refers to a “well” and it reflects the classic structure of the access spaces of the Turin palaces; moreover, it is characterized by the presence of niches, within which there are statues of Roman and Baroque periods. Important for the history of the Italian collecting is the monumental statue of Bacchus. Dating back to the 2nd century AD, it was located at the beginning of the sixteenth century in Rome, where it decorated the loggia, on the Tiber, of the magnificent residence of Bindo Altoviti. Banker of Pope Julius II della Rovere, he collected a renowned collection of antiquities, studied throughout the Renaissance. His heirs sold the most beautiful classical statues to Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy. The Bacchus arrived in Turin in the early seventeenth century and two centuries later, it passed to the antiquarian Pietro Accorsi. Originally next to a panther, its current appearance is the consequence of restoration works carried out in the seventeenth century. Instead, the figure of Togato, dating back to the 1st-2nd century AD, comes from the antiques collection of the Genoese sculptor Santo Varni.
From this gallery in the form of a loggia, the expositive itinerary of the Museum begins, set up for thematic rooms by Giulio Ometto according to the taste and furnishing principles of Pietro Accorsi in decorating his villa in Moncalieri, just outside Turin. The bright and elegant environment presents the typical style of French mirror galleries and it houses interesting objects, such as the two rare pewter statues depicting Arlecchino and Arlecchina. At the bottom of the room there is a terracotta interior fountain, a half-seventeenth century French work partially golden, formed by a shell-shaped tank on which two cherubs rest, allegories of the Loire and Rhone rivers. From the center of the vault a curious and original chandelier-lantern, entirely modeled in painted sheet metal, hangs, coming from the castle of Trofarello and built in the last quarter of the eighteenth century on possible designs by Leonardo Marini, royal interior designer of the Savoy House. Finally, the two backrest columns made of precious cipolline and black marble from Egypt are of Roman manufacture.
Room Of Assembled Objects
The environment owes its name to the rich collection of objects mounted on golden bronze shown here. These are Chinese and European porcelains, crystals and mother-of-pearl artifacts which, between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries, were embellished with precious metal trimmings, according to a custom born and widespread in the Middle Age. Objects of the most disparate functions, whose importance also grew according to the collection of which they had been part of, such as the famous ones of Lorenzo the Magnificent or Madame de Pompadour. Coming from Lombardy is the painting at the center of the fake vault depicting Venus and Cupid. Parts of the furnishings of the villa Palma Note in Cesniola di Orbassano were, instead, the three doors framing painted with fake marble, with classic profiles and floral garlands. One still bears the signature of Leonardo Marini, a multi-faceted artist who in 1782 was appointed “interior designer” by King Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy and held this office until the fall of the Savoy monarchy in 1798.
The gallery is divided into two rooms. In the first one there are eighteenth-century Turin silvers and French-made gold boxes: favors, snuff boxes and cases, dating from the end of the 17th century to the first decades of the 19th century. In the second one it is possible to admire, instead, Italian and European silverware, dating back to the Baroque and nineteenth-century periods, gold boxes of Swiss, German, English and Italian manufacture, and jewels, among which a very rare small Collar of the Santissima Annunziata, belonged to the count Luigi Cibrario. The collection of more than 140 precious objects of the museum is one of the most important in Europe. It documents at what level of perfection the craftsmen arrived in the past centuries, working to satisfy the demands of a cosmopolitan and pretentious ruling class. A beautiful figurative expression of the Turin rococo is the coffee maker bearing the emblem of the royal almoner, as well as abbot, Filippo del Carretto di Gorzegno. Created around 1760, it is attributable to Giovanni Battista Tana, a famous silversmith active also for the Savoy family, whose interest in the late Baroque dynamic forms lasted throughout the nineteenth century, as shown by the Versatoio with the Savoy coat of arms, released by the Odiot laboratory of Paris.
Madonna Delle Nevi Room
The room owes its name to the important wooden statue depicting the Virgin Mary in a standing pose with Baby Christ here housed, coming from the chapel of the Vibernone, a locality near Chieri, in the Turin territory. Realized around 1495, it is a work of a French-Flemish sculptor that the recent critics tends to identify him as Adrien de Recort, to whose workshop the other wooden statue present here is also attributed: it is the beautiful Virgin of the Annunciation, always coming from the Antonicelli collection of Turin. Author of the only canvas on the walls is Guglielmo Caccia, known as the Moncalvo from the Monferrato town elected as his home since 1593, who was able, in this work, to give a truly heavenly atmosphere to the apparition of the Madonna to the two clients kneeling, presented by Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Francis of Assisi. The Crucifix in semiprecious stones, ebony and lapis lazuli is, instead, Florentine: attributed by Alvar Gonzáles-Palacios to the Gallery of works in Florence, it was made at the time of Cosimo III de Medici, who commissioned artefacts similar to the gemstone sculptor Giuseppe Antonio Torricelli.
The Baroque Arts Room
Dedicated to the 17th-18th century figurative production, the space is an indirect gift to Pietro Accorsi who, during the exhibitions on the Piedmontese Baroque in 1937 and in 1963, loaned some works of his collection, working in order to reintroduce the attractiveness of the public towards this historic period. Here, you can find works dating back to a period between late 16th century and the 18th century, including the Triumph of Virtue crowned by genius and surrounded by the Liberal Arts, masterpiece of Francesco Ladatte of Turin (1744).
The environment houses about 380 copper objects and it is the suitable space to evoke countryside life of the Piedmontese aristocracy. A huge 17th century Venetian fireplace dominates the view, accompanied on the sides by refined French entre-fenêtres tapestries, woven around the middle of the eighteenth century and depicting pedestals with vases overflowing with flowers on top. At the center of the environment, a precious Ushak rug accompanies the long table, probably of late Renaissance Piedmontese manufacture. Worthy of note are some medieval stone sculptures: a capital and a styloforo lion dating to the 11th century. From the hermitage of the Camaldolesi of Pecetto, on the Turin hillside, comes the two-plate scale. Directly connected is the large alcove, inside which it is possible to admire a valuable eighteenth-century Aubusson tapestry and a Turin dish rack, on which are exhibited earthenware dishes from the nineteenth-century manufacture Creil and Dortu-Richard.
The environment takes its name from the painter Michele Antonio Graneri (Turin, 1708-1762) who, around 1756, painted the great “View of the Porta Palazzo Market in Turin” shown here. Pendant, most likely, of the “Piazza delle Erbe in Turin with the Market” and the “Extraction of the Lot” of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, the painting was made starting from an engraving by Giovanni Battista Borra, published in 1749 and celebrating the great urban space designed by Filippo Juvarra during his stay in Turin. Rich in figures with witty looks, it is a catalog of the “social fauna” that was possible to meet in the Savoy Turin. The work, of very high pictorial quality, was made in years close to the works compared: the two allegorical groups by Francesco Ladatte and the splendid Turin console, close for formal solutions to the furniture proposed in the prints by Nicolas Pineau, the French Court’s decorator. Here are the oldest inlaid Piedmontese furniture in the collection. The eight-legged desk, called “mazzarina”, was built around 1705 for Prince Vittorio Amedeo Filippo of Savoia (Turin, 1699-1715). The monogram on the table refers to an almost identical one still visible on the railing of a balcony of Castello di Rivoli, a Savoy residence that, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was equipped with an apartment for the unfortunate son of Vittorio Amedeo II, king of Sicily and, from 1720, king of Sardinia. Instead, the kneeling-stool with scenes from the Passion of Christ is a “firstling” by Luigi Prinotto, a cabinetmaker-minusiere active for more than eighty years on the Turin art scene, in which he was able to enter with prestigious commissions, who saw him working together with famous colleagues, such as Pietro Piffetti.
A collection of ceramics with examples of majolica and porcelain from different parts of Europe and Italy is collected in the closets of this room. With regards to the majolica, we go from the lesser known ones, like the Turinese, to the better known ones of Deruta, of Savona and of Lodi, up to the English Wedgwood. Among the porcelains, as well as a refined Ginori di Doccia tureen, there are the rare ones of the Vinovo castle factory, all of which date back to the last quarter of the 18th century.
Porcelain Service Room
In this room, two extraordinary and precious table services, produced by the two of the most important Europen porcelain manufacturing of the 18th century, can be found: one German, Frankenthal, the other Frenhc, Sèvres. Finally, a large part of the chandelier is made of a total white porcelain; the object was realized by the Royal Manifacture of Berlin, in the second-half of the 19th century.
The Chinese papers preserved on the walls come from the Canavese castle of Favria. It was Count Giuseppe Solaro of Breglio and of Govone who bought them in Vienna before 1732. After returning to Piedmont, he used them, after 1740, to decorate the residence received as a dowry by his wife, born in Vassallo di Favria. The subjects depicted are all inspired by the world of nature and the two-dimensional type of painting is typical of oriental figurative culture. The chairs come, instead, from a Milanese aristocratic palace and document the taste of the Lombard ruling class before the advent of the “Greek taste”, desired by the Verri brothers and by Giuseppe Parini, chosen by the Habsburgs of Austria as iconographer of the works of the Royal Palace in 1771. Modeled on the example of the German silvers of the early eighteenth century, they are the two doublers in Meissen porcelain on the table placed at the center of the room. Completely white, they were not colored because they remained intact following the double cooking of biscuit and enamel.
Almost all of the furnishings of this room date back to the early decades of the 19th century, when Europe celebrated the so called “Imperial” taste. The room owes its name to the musical instruments here preserved: an Erard forte-piano, dated 1818, and an engraved harp, most likely work of Jacques-George Cusineau, teacher of chamber music maestro employed by Queen Mary Antoinette of France. Among the portraits on the walls, precious are those depicting Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy and his daughter, Maria Teresa of Artois, work of the Piedmontese Giovanni Panealbo, and those depicting the Counts of Provence, painted in 1771 by the French Francois-Hubert Drouais.
Louis XVI Salon
The environment takes its name from the French ruler under whose reign (1774-1792) the formal aspect of European furniture evolved from the late Baroque to Neoclassicism. In fact, part of the furniture present here dates back to the early decades of the nineteenth century, when the aesthetic taste of the Napoleon Bonaparte family was imposed, made up of continuous quotations from Roman art of the imperial age, considered the most appropriate to represent the “universal” power of the French emperor. To distinguish itself, for rarity of comparisons, is the flap doppio corpo covered entirely in majolica tiles of Pesaro, made at the end of the 18th century. Extremely delicate, it documents an expensive production, from which arose, as early as the mid-eighteenth century, the manufacture of furniture painted in imitation of porcelain, such as the Piedmont chest of drawers and half-moon shown here. The six ‘leonine’ chairs, in carved and golden wood, come from Lucca, where they were made in the early nineteenth century.
One of the richest and most important area of the museum, the room takes its name from the author of the monumental doppio corpo preserved here, Pietro Piffetti of Turin (1701-1777), an emblematic figure of the baroque world-wide. On the wall opposite the piece of furniture is the Portrait of Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy, made in 1738 by Maria Giovanna Battista Clementi, better known as “the Clementine”. In the middle of the room shines, for the finely veneered and polished woods and the golden bronzes, the magnificent French bureau plat of the mid-eighteenth century signed by Jacques Birckle, above which is, among other objects, a delicate lectern executed by Piffetti. Noteworthy are the pair of mid-seventeenth-century Dutch globes and the two splendid French chandeliers from the castle of San Martino Alfieri, mounted by combining the richness of the golden bronze frame with the rarity of Chinese vases and the value of the Saxony porcelain finishes. The eighteenth-century tapestry of the Brussel’s manufacture with “Gamacho’s Wedding” is a backdrop, a subject translated by Charles-Antoine Coypel prints.
The room takes its name from the particular type of Piedmontese embroidery used to embellish the fabric covering of the baroque canopy bed. Everything in this room recalls the East: the embroidered ornamental motifs, the three carved wall sconces, which represent typical figures of the Chinese imagination, the chandelier and, finally, the unusual ornament that reproduces a pagoda with a garden, a Piedmontese work of the mid-eighteenth century. At the corners of the room are two Piedmontese corner cupboards, whose doors were painted in landscape by the famous Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli.
Louis XV Salon
The little salon propose the elegant, refined and exclusive atmosphere that characterized the reign of Louis XV of Borbon, in France, at the middle of the 18th century. To that unique historic period, also refers the extraordinary, rare and huge commode, decorated with Coromandel lacquer and double framed chiseled golden bronzes, marked Dubois.
Accorsi Bed Chamber
It is in this room that some of the most dear objects to the famous Turin antiquarian are to be found. A set of the most disparate origins, assembled starting from the very rare bed once at Villa Garzoni in Collodi, near Lucca, entirely covered in precious damask of green silk and characterized by a delicate floral weaving decoration. Next to it there is a cozy eighteenth-century chaise longue and an extraordinary doppio corpo with elegant rococo shapes, which can be traced back to Parma manufacture. Masterpiece of the famous François Boucher, first painter of the French court, is the large painting on the wall, depicting a delightful country scene with elegant shepherds and shepherdesses, set in a lush landscape. On the sides of the picture, two inlaid rare hanging cabinets dominate, the work of the aforementioned Pietro Piffetti, with scenes depicting the art of ivory turning. Late-eighteenth-century replicas of two reliefs by Ignazio Collino, preserved in the Royal Palace of Turin, are, finally, the plaster profiles depicting Alexander the Great and Olympia, upstream of which there is a late-ancient relief and a Renaissance one, by the Florentine Desiderio da Settignano. Among the most important pieces of furniture that decorate this room there is certainly the magnificent Genoese bureau plat, datable to the mid-eighteenth century due to its slender and dynamic forms, above which are collected photographic images of Accorsi. The carpet with a green background is one of the most beautiful in the collection, produced in the Aubousson factory in the early nineteenth century and characterized by a symmetrically ordered set of decorative elements derived from ancient architecture. Finally, the appliqués with two lights in sheet metal and the bronze and Meissen porcelain chandelier from the mid-eighteenth century are also worthy of interest.
This room houses one of the most important Italian collections of 18th century Venetian furnishings, with pieces of absolute quality. The outfitting seeks and re-create the “capricious” atmosphere of the Venetian rococò rooms, characterized by abundance of forms and prevalent use of tenuous pastel colours. Instead, the doors, admirably carved in wood then made golden, and the functional table à cabaret, characterized by oriental decorative motifs, are of Piedmontese manufacture. On the walls, due to their historical-artistic importance, the detailed views of Mondovì and Vicoforte by Angelo Maria Cignaroli; a delicate still life signed by Leonardo Marini and dated 1782; and a little, but also important tempera on parchment depicting the Madonna del Libro, work of the Genoese Giovanni Battista Castello, known partner of Luca Cambiaso.
First Cignaroli Room
The room owes its name to Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli, author of three splendid paintings inserted in the boiserie that covers the walls. The paintings represent hunting scenes of the Piedmontese aristocracy, set in pleasant landscapes inspired by real views of Turin territory. Among the exposed furnishings, it is possible to admire a strong-coffer decorated with block of mosaic composed of rosewood tiles alternating with plum, and a center table from the octagonal table with ivory inserts, both undisputed masterpieces by Pietro Piffetti.
Second Cignaroli Room
As the previous room, this salon takes its name from the paintings of Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli here exposed, still representing hunting scenes. The various and luxurious furnishings is composed by a series of Piedmontese high chairs of the beginning of the 18th century, by a French commode covered in red lacquer bearing the brand of the cabinetmaker Jacques Dautriche, anche by a table of Pietro Piffetti, veneered in boxwood and violet, with radial inlaids in pyrographed ivory. The large Piedmontese chandelier in rock crystal, of the teardrop type, dates back to the middle of the 18th century.
The room takes its name from the French painter Pierre Charles Trémolières, author of the paintings hanged on the walls depicting the Seven Sacraments, around 1733. The powerful cardinal Alessandro Albani commissioned the series to him, and also the reproduction of a series of paintings realized in 1712 by the Bolognese Giuseppe Maria Crespi, on the base of sketchs nowadays preserved in Castel Gandolfo (Rome). In 1956 the works were declared as particular historical interest from the State, and so they were notified to the then owner, the Count Aldrighetto Castelbarco Albani Visconti Simonetta. The paintings will later be purchased by Giulio Ometto, and they will enter in the museum collection.
Maria Vittoria Room
The twenty watercolors, placed side by side on the walls of this small gallery, were commissioned by the city of Turin as a gift for the Dukes of Aosta Amedeo di Savoia and Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo della Cisterna at the time when they became rulers of Spain in the 1870. They are the work of the most important and famous painters active in Turin in the 1860s and represent various Piedmontese localities of the time. Originally they were mounted on passe-partout and collected in an album inside a precious case, unfortunately lost. The only piece of furniture present is the trumeau in wood painted with fake marble, coming from the villa Palma Nota in Cesniola di Orbassano.
Chinese Panels Salon
The name given to the room pays tribute to the great Chinese papers on the walls, executed in the East around the middle of the 18th century. These are rolls that, xilographed and painted in tempera, were then imported into Europe, in the hope of finding good buyers. As the collecting taste of the time imposed, they depict the processing cycles of some of the main products exported to Europe: in our case those of rice, silk and tea. Because of their very high quality, these cards still fascinate and amaze those who admire them: harmonious and chromatically vibrant, they depict scenes conceived without perspective. A Legoran origin is, instead, remembered for the large “drop-shaped” glass and crystal chandelier that hangs from the center of the ceiling.
Christian Dior Buduoir
The little living room is covered with frosted and golden mirror panels, which in the past adorned a boudoir in the Parisan apartment of the famous French designer Christian Dior. The decor consists of two elegant Piedmontese corner cupboards, decorated with carvings and attributed to Francesco Bolgiè, and of the extraordinary chest of drawers by Pietro Piffetti, a Savoy court cabinetmaker from 1731: a piece of furniture with perfect proportions and inlay decorations of virtuosity.
Pietro Accorsi Small Study
This is the only room, among those of the museum, to have remained unchanged since Accorsi’s times, where here he received its clients, including many of the great protagonists of the history of the twentieth century. The walls are entirely covered with panels carved in Valtellina stone pine, dating back to the end of the seventeenth century.