Finally brought together in a single institute endowed with special autonomy, the five bodies of the Pilotta (the Farnese Theatre, the Palatine Library, the National Gallery, the Bodoni Museum and the Archeological Museum) are once again interpreting the extraordinary cultural role which was for centuries a reference point at European level. Already, many capillary actions to enhance value have been undertaken in the last two years, such as the recent restoration and placement of the authentic, original frame designed by Petitot for the painting by Doyen depicting La morte di Virginia, which appears in the catalogue of the National Gallery with the inventory number 1 and is symbolically the initial link to the collecting history of the Bourbons in Parma. With long term vision, the Monumental Complex of the Pilotta is giving back to the city a cultural heritage of inestimable value with an eye to Parma 2020 through a series of wide spectrum cultural initiatives which involve local and national institutions such as the celebrations for the Four hundred years of the Farnese Theatre in 2018 and the exhibition devoted to La Scapiliata by Leonardo da Vinci in 2019, as part of the official programme of celebrations for the 500 years since the death of this major Italian artist.
The re-organisation of the North Wing has involved an area which has, until now, been closely associated with the museographical intervention of Guido Canali in the 1970s, characterized by an aesthetic close to industrial archeology and centred on criteria of versatility and modularity. The new look, realized through an optimization of existing structures and re-thinking the exhibition pathway, has the objective of restoring context to the works of art and enhancing the historical versatility of the re-organisation.
To respect the overall balance of the museography, the set designs of Canali to divide the lengthy space of the North Wing were used to create a more intimate and tranquil dimension for enjoying the collection while, at the same time, respecting the architectural monumentality of these particular spaces. The pathway opens with a monumental room dedicated to the twelve Apostles by Murillo and continues with Emilian paintings from the XVII century and the great altarpieces by Guercino, Lanfranco and Nuvolone.
The differing colours of the panels and the new captions underline an articulated visit through themed sections in which religious subjects alternate with still lives, continuing with the capricci and wonderful views by Bellotto and Canaletto, with three huge canvases by Tiepolo, Piazzatta and Pittoni which came from the Convent of the Capucines in Parma, to conclude with the two great battle scenes painted in the XVIII century by the court painter Ilario Spolverini dedicated to the historical facts of the battle of Fornovo in 1495, next to military portraits of some members of the Farnese and Bourbon families.
Special acknowledgements must go from the Complex of the Pilotta to the architect Guido Canali who followed the re-organisation work, and to the Cariparma Foundation which supported a new system of hanging the works of art thereby ensuring their safety and protection.