The Pinacoteca Comunale is the oldest museum in Faenza and one of the oldest in Emilia-Romagna: it was founded in 1797, when the Municipality of Faenza bought a collection of artworks by Giuseppe Zauli. In the same year, he began acquiring paintings from convents and churches that were being suppressed under the Napoleonic laws.
Since 1879 it has been housed in the nineteenth-century Palazzo dei Gesuiti, which had previously been a college of the Order.
Since then, the collection of art has been greatly increased by rich donations from private individuals, public organizations and archaeological finds.
The collections of the Pinacoteca are divided into two parts: the Ancient Section and the Gallery of Modern Art. The Ancient Section presents a wide overview of art and history from the age of the Romans up to the eighteenth century. It contains mosaics, tombstones, sculptures and epigraphs from Roman and early medieval times.
The most significant and distinguished part of the collections consists of paintings and sculptures that cover five centuries of Faenza and Italian art. There are fewer treasures from of the 1200s and 1300, but they are still of great value. The plethora of works from the 1400s and 1500s is much larger. There are not only late-Gothic tables, but also the important works of the artists who spread the Renaissance to Faenza:: Biagio d’Antonio, G. B. Bertucci the Elder, Marco Palmezzano, Donatello, A. Rossellino and the Maestro of the Pala, Bertoni.
The collection of altarpieces from the 16th and 17th centuries relocated from the churches of Faenza are grandiose: they document the vitality of the artistic culture in the school of Mannerism that culminated with Ferraù Fenzoni, the artist who acts as a bridge with the Baroque era. Among the most important works are the still lifes of Recco, Ruoppolo, Boselli, Resani, Magini and Levoli, that bring us to the 18th century. This period is distinguished by landscapes, battles, genre paintings, often anonymous, sometimes by notable artist like: A. Locatelli, S. Orlandi, G. Bucci and F. Guardi.
The first section of the Gallery of Modern Art was established in 1879, when F. Argnani decided to include some works by contemporary artists in the exhibition. In the following decades – thanks to acquisitions and above all to the increasingly numerous donations – the 19th century and 20th century painting and sculpture fund so large that problem of adequate exhibition space arose.
The collections are grouped by school and historical-stylistic tendencies: Neoclassicism and Purism (F. Giani, M. Sangiorgi, T. Minardi, P. Piani, G. Landi); Romanticism and Realism (R. Liverani, M. D’Azeglio, V. Hugo, G. Fattori, A. Berti T. Dalpozzo and other artists of local interest). Some paintings of the French school of the 1800s were recently acquired are flanked by the two sculptures by A. Rodin.
Of extraordinary importance is the background of the works of Domenico Baccarini, the leader of the intense artistic renewal during the early 1900s, and that of his friends and contemporaries (the Cenacolo Baccarini), which prolonged the renewal for more than half a century. In addition to these pieces, are the works of Italian masters from 1900s (G. Morandi, A. Tosi, A. Martini, F. De Pisis) and artists from Faenza and Romagnoli.
Finally, we cannot forget the Drawings and Prints Cabinet: the initial collection of the Pinacoteca, consisting of the works of G. Zauli, which includeds a substantial selection of prints and drawings. Since then the collection has increased considerably in size, reaaching about 20,000 pieces. The biggest names in European engraving are present, from A. Dürer to many others.
The Art Gallery is open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays:
October – May from 10 am to 6 pm;
June – September from 10 am to 1 pm and from 3 to 7 pm
The Art Gallery can also be visited from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 1 pm by
ringing the bell of Va S. Maria dell’Angelo 5 or calling the number 0546 680251.
It is closed on Mondays.