We The Italians | Italian art: San Teonisto in Treviso

Italian art: San Teonisto in Treviso

Italian art: San Teonisto in Treviso

  • WTI Magazine #105 Jul 21, 2018
  • 67

Nineteen of the twenty-two artworks that were part of the heritage of the ancient church of San Teonisto in Treviso before the Napoleonic plundering of 1810, returned to the Treviso religious complex on Saturday, January 13.  Following the suppression of the religious orders, one of the most well-known decisions from the Napoleonic decrees, the monastery of San Teonisto was demanialised and the artworks were confiscated.

The masterpieces were supposed to end up in France, but they stopped at the Brera depots and later returned to the re-consecrated church. However, they suffered the consequences of the bombing of December 3, 1944, during the Second World War, and were transferred to the premises of the Superintendence of Venice. Later they were exhibited, in 1952, in the Civic Museums of Treviso and finally, between 2010 and 2015, they were moved to the Art Gallery of the Museum of Santa Caterina.

Now finally the artworks, realized by great Venetian painters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, return to the walls for which they were painted, restored for the occasion. The canvases will be housed in the church of San Teonisto, also completely restored: the works began at the end of 2014, were entrusted to the architect Tobia Scarpa, son of the brilliant Carlo Scarpa, father of modern Italian museography, and have recently been completed.

The remaining three works of the twenty-two once in the building, are divided between different museums. The Martyrdom of St. Justine by Carletto Caliari is owned by the Castello Sforzesco. The altarpiece of the high altar or the Martyrdom of Saints Theonistus, Tabra and Tabrata - by Jacopo Palma the Younger - is still in the Brera depots. The Wedding of Cana del Veronese are located in the Yellow Hall of Montecitorio, at the House of Chambers, in Rome.

This news is only the latest in a series concerning the modernization of the museum and historical-artistic proposals of the city of Treviso. Less than a year ago, also the Complex of Santa Caterina, which hosted the works now in San Teonisto, underwent a complete renovation to house the civic collections of sacred art and landscape painting that represent the core of the city's artistic heritage. The new route involves the former stables of the convent and the former church where there are the detached frescoes with the stories of St. Ursula.

Also the Bailo Museum has recently reopened its doors with a brand new space where the museological project is of excellent level, especially in its area of pertinence that is in the sculpture between the two world wars.

It is no coincidence that the museum houses the largest collection of works by Arturo Martini, one of the most influential and prolific sculptors of the Italian twentieth century with almost 140 works including terracottas, plaster casts, stone sculptures, bronzes, graphic works and ceramics.

Together with the intense museum activity of Bassano del Grappa, Treviso is offering a valid alternative to the most famous destinations in Veneto, investing heavily in the artistic heritage thanks to excellent synergies between private financing projects and good museum managers.