viale Vittorio Veneto, 5 - c/o Palazzo dei Musei - Modena - MO - 41121
Timetable:From Tuesday to Friday: from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm (with the possibility of afternoon opening by reservation, for groups of at least 20 people; On Saturday, Sunday and during public holidays: from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm; Closed on Mondays, on 25th December, on 1st January and on afternoons from 24th to 31st December.
Together with the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Art Museum forms part of Modena City Museums, which are all located inside the Palazzo dei Musei, the eighteenth century building that is also home to the Estense Gallery, the Estense University Library, the Municipal Historical Archive and the Poletti Art Library.
The Modena City Museum was founded in 1871 following predominantly prehistoric excavations carried out in the second half of the 19th century and part of an evolutionary perspective in keeping with the idea of progress sustained by the positivist ideology of the time. It also includes ethnological and art collections, thanks to the enlightened work of its first director Carlo Boni. In 1962, the Modena City Museum was divided into two sections (the Archaeological and Ethnological museum and the Medieval and Modern Art museum) still maintaining however the indisputable unity of the exhibition itinerary, recently rearranged in line with the original nineteenth century layout.
The museum boasts vast and varied collections, whose formation is due mainly to the contribution of the city’s aristocratic collectors. The fabric and the decorated paper were donated by Count Luigi Alberto Gandini, the arms by the Marquis Paolo Coccapani Imperiale, the musical instruments by Count Luigi Francesco Valdrighi; the Marquis Giuseppe Campori is responsible for the donation of a large group of paintings and sculptures and his grandson Matteo for the picture gallery, purchased in 1929. There are also many and significant historical and artistic artefacts from the city and the local area: standing out among these are fragments of frescoes removed from the cathedral, the Madonna di Piazza by Antonio Begarelli and the scientific equipment which once belonged to the Physics Laboratory at the university.
In 1994, the Giuseppe Graziosi Gipsoteca plastercast gallery was opened on the ground floor of Palazzo dei Musei, including also some bronzes, paintings, engravings and lithographs by the Modenese artist, donated to the museum by his heirs.
The Carlo Sernicoli bequest to the Art Museum
Carlo Sernicoli (1938-2007), renowned Modenese figure, bequeathed to the Art Museum a precious collection of extremely important paintings and House of Este silverware. Giovanni da Modena, Elisabetta Sirani, Guercino not to mention also Ubaldo Oppi and Virgilio Guidi are just some of the artists’ names whose works make up this prestigious collection, formed over in recent years thanks to close contacts with the world of scholars and antiques. A new room has been dedicated to the Sernicoli bequest, created in the spaces of the former Estense hospital and as an exhibition venue together with the adjoining Sala Campori.
The museum organises shows and temporary exhibitions also in collaboration with other organisations and institutes, particularly regarding the city’s cultural heritage and collections of materials similar to those present in its existing collections.
The museum has a library containing about 7,000 volumes on the decorative arts, predominantly those represented by the collections (arms, decorated paper, ceramics, musical and scientific instruments, fabrics, glassware) and local history. The magazine section includes one hundred specialist Italian and international publications.
Books from the library can be consulted by appointment to be made by telephone.
The visit is enhanced by various kinds of captions labelling regarding single objects and groups of artworks. Each room offers info cards that go into greater detail with regard to an important work or group of objects on display. The cards are available to the visitor, who can purchase the folder at the entrance.
An audio guide can also be hired at the entrance.
Guided visits can be booked by phone.
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: A1 Modena Nord exit, then take via Emilia Ovest for the city centre
By train: from the train station take bus no. 7 or 11
Accessible to the disabled by lift from Viale Vittorio Veneto, 7