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Studies and Research

Up-keep and conservation are of primary importance. Thanks to these, our patrimony is safeguarded and bequeathed to future generations.

The Modern Art Gallery is the subject of study and, in turn, aims to promote research. It offers publications on and by the Gallery.                                                                                                                                       

Studying our art heritage means understanding past choices and acknowledging what we will hand down to the future.

As leader of the Nineteenth-century Lombard Art Museum Network, the Gallery coordinates a project intended to enhance Lombardy’s art heritage during the 1800s through studies and research.

The main task of a museum is to conserve its works. This does not mean just protecting them in a place where time passively unfolds, but acknowledging their identity, defined by both the creative history that made them and by the means of conservation that have rescued them from destruction or oblivion. This is established, most importantly, by the museum itself, which – in choosing what to display, what not to display, and how to safeguard what has been omitted – selects the parts of the collection that are entitled to permanence over time. Examples of how a museum’s choices regarding its own collections have lasting effects are the 20th-century plaster casts of the Modern Art Gallery, which had been buried for decades under heaps of dust. The survival of works of the utmost importance – such as the preparatory cast for Antonio Canova’s Hebe (the Gallery’s Neoclassical masterpiece) or the one for the monument commemorating the Five Days of Milan by the forgotten father of modern Italian sculpture – was at great risk. Restored to their original splendor and included in the exhibit itinerary, these statues bear witness to the efforts that distinguish the Gallery today. The storage – an area vital to research and source collection for art history – took center stage; the subject of research, it is what it holds, what has forever been lost, and what outlines a sort of map of absences, which is fundamental to understanding the logic and taste of the past but also intervention strategies for the collection’s future.