The Renaissance of Gaudenzio Ferrari

24th March – 16th September 2018
Closed form 2nd to 6th July for rearrangement

Exhibition curated by Giovanni Agosti and Jacopo Stoppa

The exhibition

The story of Gaudenzio Ferrari (Valduggia 1480 approx – Milan 1546), one of the main artists of Italian Renaissance, is unveiled in the rooms of Palazzo dei Musei starting from the beginning of his career. The exhibition shows his works from the oldest remaining works from the Franciscan Sacro Monte complex to Gaudenzio’s earliest paintings, traces of which remain in the Chapel dedicated to the Sepulchre of the Virgin, a reconstruction of which is presented. It also includes the great polyptychs for the cities of Vercelli, Varallo and Arona. It examines how Gaudenzio progressed from the abstract and analytical style of Bramantino, which he combined with Leonardo da Vinci’s theories on the representation of movements of the soul, to an even more complex vision influenced by Perugino and the Roman Grotesque style. In addition to the exhibition, visitors can admire the works of Gaudenzio’s artists operating in the Valsesia area and of Tanzio da Varallo.

Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

The partition that separates the worshippers’ area from that of the clergy according to a Franciscan architectural style typical of Lombardy and Piedmont during the fifteenth/sixteenth century, shows the life and passion of Jesus Christ, portrayed by Gaudenzio using extraordinary narrative skills. The considerable experience summarised by the artist in the 21 paintings shows experimental techniques and styles, including the use of embossed details that project from the fresco wall. The bustling Crucifixion is considered the incunabula of Gaudenzio’s “folk theatre” that the artist will develop in the Sacro Monte chapels. The scaffolding, made for the exhibition to admire safely Gaudenzio’s wall, also highlights the preservation issues, and further stresses the urge to restore this masterpiece of Italian Renaissance.

The Sacro Monte

The Sacro Monte was founded thanks to the willingness of a friar, Bernardino Caimi, who for a long time had been in charge of the Holy Places in Palestine. The Franciscan friar decided to recreate these places for the pilgrims who did not intend to make a long journey. The project continued after his death thanks to the support of the Scarognino family, in particular, as a result of Gaudenzio’s involvement as sculptor and painter. Gaudenzio produced the following works: the Annunciation Chapel (2); the Chapel of the arrival of the Three Kings (5); the Nativity Chapel (6); the Chapel of the Adoration by the Shepherds (7); the Circumcision Chapel (8); the Pity Chapel originally portraying Jesus Christ and his Calvary , (40); the Crucifixion Chapel (38). Mary Magdalene at Jesus Christ’s Sepulchre (43) and the Redeemer in the Chapel of Jesus Christ led to the Magistrate (32) are also Gaudenzio’s works. Gaudenzio also painted and sculpted the Chapel of Our Lady of Loreto at Roccapietra.



Palazzo dei Musei – Pinacoteca, Via Don Pietro Calderini 25, Varallo


Standard: €12
Reduced: €8 (concessions, over 65s, young people aged between 14 and 26, groups)
Children aged 6-14: €6
Schools: €4
From 13th to 22nd July on the occasion of Alpàa: reduced €8
Tickets include admission to the exhibition, the Palazzo dei Musei’s permanent collection, the walkway at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the cable car up to the Sacro Monte.
Free: children under 6, Abbonamento Musei card holders, ICOM members, Passaporto Culturale holders, Torino+Piemonte Card holders, people with disabilities and the person accompanying them


Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
(last admission 17:30)
Closed form 2nd to 6th July for rearrangement
Special opening: 13th – 22nd July 10.00-22.30; 16th July 18.00-22.30


Sacro Monte of Varallo:
Cable car up to the Sacro Monte of Varallo:
Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 18:00, Saturday and Sunday 09:00 – 19:00
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie:
Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00 *
Chapel of Madonna di Loreto, Roccapietra:
Shuttle bus departs from the Palazzo dei Musei every Sunday at 11:00 and at 16:00

* On occasion, for religious services, opening times may change

For more information:
Freephone number 800.329.329

Reservations and guided tours for groups
Valsesia Vercelli local tourist board +39 335.709.6337

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