CONF: Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, between Milan and Europe – Travels, connections and patterns of taste of a mid-19th century collector (online / Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, 11 Oct 2022)

The international study day organised by the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in collaboration with the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the Society for the History of Collecting, aims to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli (1822-1879). Creator of the museum of the same name, this conference intends to explore his biographical profile and reconstruct his personal and cultural connections within a European context.

The pioneering studies by A. Mottola Molfino (1989) and the research undertaken in 2011 on the occasion of the exhibition “Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli. L’Uomo e il Collezionista del Risorgimento” (L. Galli; F. Mazzocca) emphasised the role of the collector as a precursor of innovative museographic models in Italy. The time has come to examine his work in the light of the new research that has emerged in the last quarter century thanks to the development of studies on the history of collecting and the art market, particularly in Milan. In the same years in which Poldi Pezzoli put together his collection, Milan became one of the most important centre of the international art market, attracting scholars, merchants and travellers, including agents sent by the directors of the national museums of London, Berlin and Paris, who were in the process of building up their collections.

The conference is funded by Italian Ministry of Culture – Direzione generale Educazione, ricerca e istituti culturali, Regione Lombardia and DemhistICOM.

Scientific Committee: Silvia Davoli, Lavinia Galli and Alessandra Squizzato.
Venue: The Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Via Manzoni 12

Registration: Access to the auditorium is permitted subject to availability. To attend the conference in person, you must register on Eventbrite


To participate remotely: LIVE on the Poldi Pezzoli Museum You Tube Channel: (09:00-18:00 Milan time)


Welcome: Annalisa Zanni (The Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan) Alessandro Rovetta (Catholic University, Milan)

Chair: Alessandro Morandotti (University of Turin)
Lavinia Galli (The Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan)
Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli’s international network and models for a modern museum

Marino Viganò (The Trivulzio Foundation, Milan)
The maternal line: Rosina Trivulzio Poldi Pezzoli and the family tradition of collecting

Luca Giacomelli (University of Bologna)
Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and Florence. Notes on an unsuccessful relationship

Coffee break

Paul Froment (Bibliothèque nationale de France-Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques, Paris)
Alexandre Du Sommerard and Italy

Francesca Tasso (Artistic Collections, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and the decorative arts: museums and temporary exhibitions in the 1870s.



Chair: Jaynie Anderson (Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne)

Alessandra Squizzato – Lorenzo Tunesi (Catholic University, Milan)The foreign travellers in Milan and their interests, from the landmarks of Grand Tour to the art dealers 
Silvia Davoli (Strawberry Hill House, Oxford University)‘Objects bring us the traces of life’: Cavaleri, Cernuschi and Giambattista Vico’s theory of history

Susanna Avery Quash (The National Gallery, London)
Sir Charles Eastlake, the National Gallery and the Milanese Art World of the mid-19th-Century

Coffee break

Eloise Donnelly (The Victoria and Albert Museum, London)Sweeping up the best things: the South Kensington Museum’s dealings in Milan, 1860-1900

Olga Piccolo (Italian Ministry of Culture-collaborator)
Cavalcaselle’s inspections of the private collections in Milan and the international museum strategies for exporting paintings from the city during the years of Poldi Pezzoli

Martina Colombi (University of Milan)
The Milanese antique dealers Baslini and Grandi and the international market