Who was Fernanda Wittgens, the primary director of Brera?

Performed by Matilde Gioli, a robust anti-fascist artwork critic remembered for her dedication to defending Brera’s creative heritage throughout World Battle II. His personal story

Fernanda, fiction in Rai Uno

The drama was broadcast on Rai Uno in its first season on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 Fernandamanufacturing in keeping with biography Ferdinand WittgensThe primary girl to observe Brera’s image gallery (but additionally the primary feminine determine to direct a museum in Italy) in 2 troublesome years. Born in 1903, in Milan in a cultured however not rich household of Austro-Hungarian origin, in 1826 he entered the Scientific-Literary Academy of Milan, specializing with Paolo d’Ancona within the historical past of artwork. On the artwork of Italian illustrated books of the nineteenth century)a topic which he taught for just a few years to the scholars of the Liceo Parini and the Liceo Manzoni. In the meantime he writes on their pagesAmbrosian.


Already in 1928, nevertheless, Wittgens was employed in Brera as a “vacation employee”, performing technical administrative duties with such care and preparation that he was then impressed by the director of the museum. Ettore Modigliani. We owe the woman’s promotion to the position of deputy director to him, who named her “lark” due to her sense of measurement: in 1931, on the age of 28, Fernanda Wittgens discovered herself organizing an artwork exhibition for the Pinacoteca. The Italian in London will benefit from the best success. The collaboration between the 2 thus continues in an indication of excessive mutual esteem, till 1941, when Modigliani is pressured to go away Italy as a consequence of racial legal guidelines: Fernanda succeeds, referred to as to take care of a scenario that rapidly results in a rupture. the precedence of preserving the heritage of the Pinacoteca from the raids of the Nazi military and from the bombings that had been additionally to hit Milan.

Fernanda Wittgens in her role in Brera, circa 1955, p.  Milan, Photographic Laboratory of Pinacoteca di Brera
Fernanda Wittgens in her position in Brera, circa 1955, p. Milan, Photographic Laboratory of Pinacoteca di Brera


And so it isn’t becoming to seek out the title among the many first figures of that “Artwork of Resistance” exhibited on the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. Liberata Artwork 1937-1947 (till April 10, 2023), which resembles 100 works, which had been saved by the populations of the battle or eagerly acquired, after the struggle with the aim of accelerating the energy and talent proven by those that are then referred to as to guard the heritage of Italy. The general public authorities, who’ve demonstrated the coolness and dedication to the trigger, are concerned within the work of the monument to handle the artworks preserved within the Museum of the Peninsula, together with a formidable catalog and daring removals. In accordance with Pasquale Rotondi, Emilio Lavagnino, Palma Bucarelli and plenty of others; in Milan it was Fernanda Wittgens who organized the operations of transferring the masterpieces from Brera to the “flights” in Central Italy.thoughts and “army angle“, as reported by Antonio Greppi, who in 1945 turned a mayor within the reconstruction of Milan, and was additionally conscious of that”ruthless enthusiasm“. In 1944 Fernanda was arrested on prices of anti-fascism and due to her relations with the world of Jewish tradition (she helped a number of of her Jewish mates and acquaintances to free themselves from the focus camps of the Nazis), though she all the time refused a political task. Supporter of mental autonomy. The girl will serve in detention in Milan’s Sankt Vittori jail till 1945. However she is going to all the time be the one within the subsequent post-war interval, who will combat for repairing the damages and for the reopening of the museum. it should be of all.

Publifoto, Restitution of the works in anticipation of the imminent revision of the Pinacoteca, June 1, 1950. Milan, Publifoto Archive.  Fernanda Wittgens, Mauro Pellicioli and architect Peter Portaluppi
Publifoto, Restitution of the works in anticipation of the upcoming revision of the Pinacoteca, June 1, 1950. Milan, Publifoto Archive. Fernanda Wittgens, Mauro Pellicioli and architect Peter Portaluppi


The civil and moral sense in the direction of the mission to which he felt referred to as is contained in just a few traces in a letter addressed to his mom, one in probably the most intimate second of the battle, printed by Antonella Biondi within the catalog of the Roman exhibition’s commentaries; “For it’s extra helpful to be mental in quiet occasions, and to behave timidly, and even simply impartial, when there’s hazard.“, he writes within the midst of issuesnice job, Fernanda Wittgens. His work was not in useless, if in the present day the collections of the Pinacoteca di Brera can nonetheless boast works resembling they’re. Christ is lifeless and Polyptych of Saint Luke of Mantegna, the . Nutmeg in San Bernardino by Piero della Francesca, lo The wedding of a virgin by Raphael, the Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio (a portray acquired from the Pinacoteca by way of the intercession of Wittgens, when he was Modigliani’s deputy), the views of Guardi and Canaletto, in Portrait of Alessandro Manzoni by Francis Hayez, to say solely these whom the director aptly namedmasters“.


For the determine of Fernanda Wittgens, who died in 1957, such books are Lark by Giovanna Ginex and Rosangela Percoco (Salani Editore) and anthology I’m Ferdinand Wittgens. Life at BreraOfficial biography printed by Skira. The TV film produced by Rai Fiction, directed by Maurizio Zaccaro, calls the actress from Milan Matilda Gioli to solid As we speak the attractive cafe within the Pinacoteca di Brera is known as after Wittgens: therefore Fernanda.

Livia Montagnoli

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