The National Gallery of Cosenza

Enjoy it!CultureThe National Gallery of Cosenza

The National Gallery of Cosenza

Palazzo Arnone stands on Colle Triglio, one of the seven hills that host the urban fabric of Cosenza. Today it houses the National Gallery, the city’s most important museum complex. It was built in the sixteenth century and initially used as a women’s prison. A protest by the inmates that erupted into a riot left it in ruins, almost completely destroyed. Rebuilt, it became once again a prison and a courthouse at the same time, but in 1854 a disastrous earthquake reduced it to rubble. After a second reconstruction, in the mid-twentieth century, it ceased to be considered a place of penitentiary and the horizon changed. In 2008, it reopened its doors as a museum. The National Gallery consists of a collection of paintings documenting significant moments in art from the 16th to the 20th century. The collection arose from the need to reconstruct and promote knowledge of the artistic history of the region. The works are mostly attributed to painters born in Calabria. Among the most important are Pietro Negroni, Mattia Preti, and Umberto Boccioni. Also noteworthy are works by Neapolitan artists who strongly influenced the local painting school, reflecting the historical cultural intercommunication with Naples. The numerous works are exhibited in a modern and refined context, perfectly integrated with the classical architecture of the magnificent Palazzo Arnone. Neapolitan and Southern Baroque art prevails and blends with exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Among these is one dedicated to the master of Futurism, Umberto Boccioni, whose futuristic sculpture is exhibited, the same sculpture depicted on the Italian twenty-cent Euro coin. Additionally, Palazzo Arnone hosts an open restoration site for the public, offering visitors the opportunity to follow the activities of professional restorers in real time. The marvelous and numerous works on display make it one of the most important museum complexes in southern Italy. The architectural beauties and fascinating history of Palazzo Arnone, which houses them, along with the panoramic view from the palace windows overlooking the historic center, seem to turn the windows themselves into wonderful paintings. Enjoying such beauty and enriching oneself culturally would be priceless. In Cosenza, however, all this is incredibly free of charge.

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