Vincent Van Gogh, among other famous artists, is finally exhibited in the permanent collection of an Italian Museum.

One could think it would be one of his most known masterpieces that has been already showed in the media numerous times like at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan, but instead it is an original and unpublished Self-Portrait of the Dutch Master.
Amsterdam, Paris, Moscow, New York and Milan can boast a rare seen drawing by the famous painter.

It is exposed in the new collection of the Museo Diocesano, located in one of the most historical sites of the city, the Church and Cloisters of Sant’Eustorgio. The new Wing of the Museum, dedicated to Antonio Sozzani, who had donated it as a legacy in 2007, has been opened to the public on the 24th January 2014. In this Wing, five centuries of art history, from Ludovico Carracci to Bernini, from the nineteenth century French Masters Gericault, Delacroix and Renoir to Gaugin’s post-impressionism and Italian Twentieth century with Lucio Fontana.

Vincent van Gogh, (attr.), Self Portrait, red pencil or sanguigna on brown / ocher light paper, courtesy of the Diocesan Museum, Milan, MyTemplArt Magazine

Vincent van Gogh, (attr.), Self Portrait, red pencil or sanguigna on brown / ocher light paper, courtesy of the Museo Diocesano, Milan

The Museo Diocesano is an example of an institution in continuous expansion, with exhibitions of contemporary artists with an eventful programming. The Museo Diocesano, recognized by the authorities for its ongoing proposals has been enriched by the scientific contributions of major art historians, that enrich the collection daily. It’s not a surprise then, if Paolo Biscottini, the Museum’s Director, states that “the archive is the probity of a Museum”.

The Archive of the Diocesano is rich, stored both in digital form and in paper, with open access for researchers, students and whoever is interested in its consultation. Regarding the sharing of data, Biscottini, whose museum was among the Italian ones to join Google Earth Project, has clear ideas: “We are for total sharing. Everything must be available for everyone, even online”.
Another matter is the one regarding the rights and limitations from the utilization of images by third parties: the Diocesano, for example, owns the property of all images, in order to protect them from purposes which are not inherent to the nature of the art work.
In spite of the currents that favor the events in themselves for popularization, the Diocesano is aware of the key role of Archive in the contemporary art system, in particular with regard to the interpretation of experimental languages: “The Archive is a precious site for information – to learn the techniques used by artists, the consequent conservation and restoration of the art work. The Archive is the area to be favored; in Italy we have focused our effort on the preservation, reaching a high level of quality, but now we need to focus on Archives”.

Paul Gauguin (attr.), Portrait of a young woman, pencil and watercolor on paper, courtesy Museo Diocesano, Milan, MyTemplArt Magazine

Paul Gauguin (attr.), Portrait of a young woman, pencil and watercolor on paper, courtesy Museo Diocesano, Milan

Nowadays in Italy there is not yet a system where the National Archives are available to everyone, a commitment that is strategic both for the promotion of research and to attract international investments. “Who will govern our nation in the future” says Biscottini “and has to deal with our cultural heritage, cannot bypass the important matter of creating a system of National Art Archives”. There is a debate about the Art Archives of the future, in particular about their sustainability. First of all the issue of computerized art: “computer systems allow us to preserve and archive every information. We must not judge the value of the contemporary art world today, but we have to foresee the future. In order to do so we have to preserve everything and archive everything”. A message addressed to other institutions and also to the privates, producers and consumers of contemporary art.

Hard work, openness towards society, new projects, multidisciplinary approach are only some of the key ingredients that allow the Museo Diocesano to make palatable its artistic heritage.

This post is also available in: Italian