National Gallery

Bologna - Via delle Belle Arti 56,

National Gallery


Entry price: € 6.00
Reduction € 3. Free admission less than 18 years old, Museums Metropolitan of Bologna Card holders and every first Sunday of the month.


Always open
Closed: Monday. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays: 8.30-19.30 (ticket closure and last entry 30 minutes before the indicated times)


Telephone: +39 051 4209411
FAX: +39 051 251368

The collection of paintings began in 1796 and had its first nucleus in the works coming from churches and monasteries which were abolished by the Napoleonic administration. In 1808 the collection was moved to the present location, the former St. Ignazio Monastery in via Belle Arti. After Napoleon's fall in 1815 the Picture Gallery got almost all the paintings that were moved from the city to Paris and Milan by the Napoleonic administration. By the middle of the 19th century a lot of important works of art were added to the collection because the religious orders were abolished and the newborn Italian State became the owner of a great quantity of their art treasures. Other enlargements were made in 1878, with more than 40 thousands of printings (some of which really are rarities) and thousands of drawings, and in 1884, with the acquisition of the Zambeccari paintings collection. After the First World War the institution activity flourished again: not only other works were added to the collection but also a restoration and reorganization of the exhibition rooms was planned. With the reoganization of the collection the Picture Gallery became one of the most important galleries in Europe, not only as far as the Baroque Bolognese painting is concerned.

The itinerary for a visit goes through the following sections:
13th and 14th centuries painting
- It contains the works by the Emilian artists of the 13th and 14th centuries. Among these artists the most important is Vitale da Bologna. You can see here some of his paintings, such as "St. George and the dragon", "Stories of St. Antonio" and the fresco cycle of St. Apollonia di Mezzaratta, which were detached from the church with the same name and reassembled as if they were in the original place in a dedicated room. Other rooms contain works of art of non-bolognese artists, among which the "Polyptych with Holy Virgin and saints", the only work by Giotto you can see in Bologna. Among the other bolognese artists you can see some of the works that were made for the building of the church of St. Petronio.

Renaissance -This section contains the art production of the early bolognese Renaissance, with works by Francesco del Cossa, Lorenzo Costa and Francesco Francia, who was the one who expressed the Humanism during the administration of the Bentivoglio family. In this section you can see other paintings which are not by bolognese artists, but anyway they are linked to the local culture, such as the well known "Ecstasy of St. Cecilia" by Raffaello and "Holy Virgin with the infant Jesus and Saints" by Perugino. Noteworthy are also the altar-piece called "del Tirocinio" and "The adoration of the Magi" by Amico Aspertini because of their imaginative representation and "The Holy Virgin of St. Margherita" by Parmigianino because of its formal elegance. Before getting into the room containing the works of foreigner artists, which is the last one of the Renaissance itinerary, you can admire the "Visitation" by Tintoretto, a work of art that had an important influence on the aesthetic education of the Carracci.

Mannerism - It contains the works of artists of the second half of the 16th century, among which Federico Barocci, Bartolomeo Passerotti, Giorgio Vasari, Prospero Fontana e Bartolomeo Cesi. The severity of their representations acts as an intermediary between this room and the one dedicated to the Carracci.

The Carracci - The most important works of art by Ludovico, Annibale and Agostino Carracci are in this room. Around the end of the 16th century the Carracci founded an Art Academy, the Accademia degli Incamminati. Their skill was the reformation of art trough a return to the "natural" instead of the intellectualism of the Mannerism. The association of the three cousins had as a result some extraordinary works, such as the frescoes in the Palaces Fava, Magnani and Sampieri. The many works by Ludovico show the high spirituality of the Counter-Reformation and the simplicity of everyday life; some examples are "The Annunciation", the "Conversion of St. Paul", the "Bargellini Holy Virgin". Annibale has left few works instead, because he left Bologna in 1595 in order to develop his career in Rome. An early masterpiece by Guercino, the "Clothing of St. Guglielmo", ends the itinerary in this section.

Guido Reni - The paintings by Guido Reni are in the wide hall that connects the Carracci room with the Baroque corridor. The artist is the main exponent of the Classical Ideal of the 17th century and he realized intense religious iconographies during the Counter-Reformation, among which the "Crucifixion", the "Triumphant Samson", the "Pietà dei Mendicanti" and the "Slaughter of the Innocents". The dedicated itinerary ends with the "Martyrdom of St. Sebastian" and with the "Thorn-crowned Christ", recently adquired by the National Picture Gallery. These two works belong to the last period of his art career, which was characterized by the progressive melting of images and by colours that tend to the monochromatism.

Baroque age and 18th century Various rooms host other paintings by the Carracci and other pupils of the Accademia degli Incamminati, by Guercino (mature period of his art) and by other - painters who belong to the bolognese art school of the 17th century such as Alessandro Tiarini, Elisabetta Sirani, Lorenzo Pasinelli, Burrini, Domenico Canuti. As far as the 18th century painting is concerned, worth mentioning are Carlo Cignani, who expressed the academic tradition, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, for his representative spontaneity and the Gandolfi brothers, who are exponents of the last period of the 18th century Bolognese art.
The octagonal room that ends the itinerary hosts big paintings dating back to the 17th century by Giacomo Cavedoni, Ludovico Carracci, Guercino, Francesco Albani e Domenichino.

Fonte: redazione locale Bologna


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