Art as Therapy

The beauty of art and the values that animate the Poliambulanza become support for those who work and for those who are cared for.

Art as Therapy is a project of Fondazione Poliambulanza and Fondazione Brescia Musei.

The project

The project Art as Therapy was born from the desire to convey within some spaces of Fondazione Poliambulanza the messages of the Founder of the Sisters Handmaids of Charity, Santa Maria Crocifissa di Rosa.

From the Handmaids we receive a wealth of values expressed in a historical journey marked by countless stages, of which they have been witnesses, protagonists, innovators. One of the many areas in which they have poured their charisma is Fondazione Poliambulanza, today an avant-garde hospital center, in which these courageous women have written memorable pages, between foresight, vision and resourcefulness. Universal messages, which are still relevant today and can reach the heart of the staff and patients of the hospital.

How to amplify its communicative value and help to convey in an incisive way the key values that have animated Poliambulanza for over a century?

With this in mind, the synergy with Fondazione Brescia Musei has developed and art has been the answer. The words and the example of Santa Maria Crocefissa di Rosa together with art and culture become support for those who work and for the patients who entrust their health to Poliambulanza. Precious tools to accompany the daily routine of hospital life.

The project thus developed contributes to bringing “art into the cure” and to put near two seemingly distant yet strongly synergistic elements, infusing serenity and confidence. Art helps to make the hospital more beautiful and welcoming, while the hospital promotes the knowledge of art and museum heritage in those who, in various ways, attend it.

The works

Carefully selected paintings, present in the collection of the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo in Brescia, at the end of evaluations, meetings and sharing, were combined with the messages of the founder to give greater emphasis and recognition.

“Madonna in adoration of the Child” by Andrea Appiani

Madonna in adoration of the sleeping Child
Andrea Appiani (1754-1817)
post 1790 – ante 1799
oil on canvas

It is a small painting representing the Virgin Mary as a young mother, devoid of heavenly attributes and lowered into a decidedly earthly and domestic dimension, caught in the act of laying his son on a bed. The intimate bond that binds it to the Child and the tenderness of the sentiments expressed go beyond the devotional meaning of the image and are linked to the Renaissance studies developed on the basis of Leonardo’s research on the subject of affections. Our Lady shuns the gaze of the observer, to immerse herself totally in the contemplation of the little one, deeply asleep. Thanks to the delicate chiaroscuro, the figures seem to emerge slowly from the dark background and seem almost to blend into the surrounding space. The composition is simple and balanced; the artist renounces any artificiality or attempt at abstraction, preferring a more human and emotionally involving naturalism.

“Supper in Emmaus” by Alessandro Bonvicino called the Moretto

Supper in Emmaus
Alessandro Bonvicino called the Moretto (Brescia 1498 about-1554)
1527 about
oil on canvas

The large canvas depicts the evangelical episode known as the Supper in Emmaus: after the Resurrection, Christ, in the guise of a common wanderer, joins two disciples along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus and, in the evening, seated with them in an inn to dine takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and offers it to the two men thus revealing his identity. In ancient times, the painting adorned the altar that stood at the intersection of the arms of the fifteenth-century hospital of San Luca, in an elevated position that would explain the layout from below up. The canvas is based on the dialogue between the enveloping twilight and the rises of tone caused by the bursting from the left of the light, that reverberates on the bottom of the tray, on the folds of the clothes and the white tablecloth, on the glasses from the luminescent edge, and arrives under the table, highlighting the bare feet of the disciples and the cat peeping out behind the base. Moretto represents Christ with the attributes not of a generic traveler, but specifically of a pilgrim, as suggested by the shell pinned to the chest and the curious headdress with a large layer decorated with medals. The analytical description of the faces and clothes of the two bystanders – a gentleman and a maiden dressed in a sumptuous red robe complemented by a coral necklace and a floral hairstyle – suggests that it is the depiction of two patrons, whose identity is unknown. The absorbed face of man is a declaration of his attitude of intense and shared meditation on the mystery of the Eucharist.

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