Castelvecchio Museum Italian: Museo Civico di Castelvecchio is a museum in Verona , northern Italy , located in the eponymous medieval castle. Restoration by the architect Carlo Scarpa between and has enhanced the appearance of the building and exhibits. Scarpa's architectural style is visible in the details for doorways, staircases, furnishings, and even fixtures designed to hold a specific piece of artwork. The renovation carefully balanced new and old, revealing the history of the original building where appropriate. Unusual at the time, this approach has now become a common approach to renovation.
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The study takes place in the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona, a project held by architect Carlo Scarpa. I first visited the museum when I was in first year of architecture and was impressed that I was witnessing a continuous dialogue between the new layer of the architect and the old building.
It felt as being in a place where past had a special meaning and was constantly revealing its different aspects. At the end, the feeling was very strange. Had I been in a place of the past? Or was I traveling in a place that was something in between, learning from the past and therefore shaping the present? This invisible power of the place, and the special relationship made me want to examine carefully the museum and how the approach of C.
Scarpa transforms the past into an object of importance and a source of knowledge via interpretation. The majority of his work is located in North Italy. Though, a revolutionary architect of the postwar period of 20C, his popularity grew after his death in at the age of He was also deeply influenced by the Japanese aesthetics, the Vienna school, Byzantine and Islamic architecture. His interaction with craftsmen made him obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of materials, how they work and relate to each other.
His knowledge and experience of exhibition spaces comes from working for Venini for whom he served as an art director for fifteen years - Added to this, there are traditions, connection, and memories that give our daily existence an historic dimension. His drawings are a complex unity of current thoughts and past ideas on multiple tracing papers. He creates a combination of sections, plans, detail drawings that at the end reflect a single concept he has in mind.
What Anne-Catrin Schultz addresses as Spatial Stratification is Scarpas spacial thinking; a precise process in which he clearly separates things based on their chronological or material properties, thus revealing them and then invents relationships based on antithesis.
An ongoing process, in which layers of history interact with each other, revealing their meaning, and at the same time are becoming a part of the present. Schultz, A. Carlo Scarpa: Layers. Stuttgart: A. Menges, Print. This was a 14th century fortress in the west side of the city in front of the Adige river. The complex had overgone series of rehabilitations over the years; initially as a medieval castle, then, mainly used for military purposes between the 18th and 19th centuries and as a museum in the biggening of the 20th century.
Samia Rab distinguishes four major periods of construction of the Castelvecchio. In the site was converted by the Scaligary Family Lords of Verona to what is known as Castelvecchio; a medieval fort on the two sides of the Commune wall which now served as a barrier of the family.
So the Commune wall which previously had been facing outwards, was now facing inwards and against the citizens. The castle had two compounds in each side of the Commune wall, with an inner courtyard on the east side, called the Reggia Palace and one with an outer courtyard towards the city serving military functions, open towards the river.
Another element of the Reggia was the Torre Del Mastio, the highest of the watch towers and the Porta del Morbio, witch was a private entrance, leading to a bridge for the family that crossed the river. The next occupants were the Napoleon Troops in that constructed their barracks in an L-shape building of the Caserma, the so called Napoleon Wing.
A grand military staircase against the Communy Wall was also added for fighting against the Austrians. The last phase was the conversion of the complex. During the demolishion, he excavated the ancient moat found underneath. In addition, he introduced a new circulation for the museum, with the entrance in the great courtyard, and a two leveled gallery in both the Caserma section and the Regia.
For the new gallery he adds new floor, new ceilings, windows screens and doors. Scarpa also introduces the exhibits of the museum as will be studied later. The most significant exhibit of the museum is the statue of Cangrande which he critically places over the moat during the renovation Rab, S. Sheffield School of Architecture. Scarpa had to prioritize between the four historic traces of the complex Commune of Verona, Scaligary family, Napoleon troops, Fascists and establish a new didactic stratification.
Having demolished the Napoleon staircase, he uses negative space to visualize and separate the individual buildings15 and depicts the L-shape Napoleonic Wing which would accomodate the gallery.
He, later, also uses a vertical separation on the wing to distinguish the northeast tower providing light to the Avena room and the library. For that he suggests an arrangement in which the wall is separated from its symmetrical nature and places a thin layer of glass in front of the existing Gothic openings. Beltramini, G. Zannier, I. Scarpa, C. The courtyard itself has a central garden, with two fountains witch he re-articulates and flowers zones opposite to the facade, guiding the visitor to the northeast opening where the new entrance is established.
He also designs a new roof consciously leaving a gap with the wall in order to emphasize his previous intention.
The interior of the Caserma wing had five similar square rooms. The new gallery itself would have two storeys. The floor itself is also a very important layer for Scarpa. The floor above is set to a certain height, turning previous doors to high windows and previous windows to sources of light. The exhibition accommodates sculptures and paintings from the early Christian and Romanesque periods found in the Basilicas of Verona. At the same time he offers a total view of all the statues in certain rooms as a starting point of movement.
In some cases more than one of the statues gazes intersect at a point that is not noticable otherwise. The gaze here, is a device that generates movement whereas the exhibit itself is the absolute protagonist. Similarly to the Sculpture galleries, Scarpa places paintings on easels, close to the edge of the free-standing walls, in different sizes and scales, so as to encourage navigation and different distances from the wall via movement. Paintings placed on the edge of the freestanding walls are initially observed when entering the section and then observed again down to their very detail thus recalling a previous experience.
Scarpa treats the space as a stage and the view to the peripheral walls as one of constant change. Stavroulaki, G. Peponis, J. Finaly, the most dramatic point of the exhibition and the complex is the meeting point of the Caserma with the Communy wall and the Reggia.
To establish a new hierarchy of the historic layers, Scarpa clearly erases the Napoleonic trace, so as to reveal and emphasize the Communy wall and the Roman foundations moat which is the period he decides to glorify. In addition, he is striked by the idea of placing the fourteenth century statue Cangrande of the Lord of Verona as the greatest symbol of the city. According to Samia Rab, when Scarpa critically placed the statue in its final position he wanted to accomodate it in a semi-outdoor environment, provide multiple viewing points, isolate it from any other exhibits and most importantly to glorify the era the statue represented.
While changing position, height and distance towards the statue, the visitor is provided with multiple viewings of the Cangrande. This is a rare moment when the visitor is level with the riding knight and the only moment when the face of the knight is frontally seen, clearly smiling. While studying the Castelvecchio, it reminded me of the palimpsest, a notion in architecture I had previously researched; a piece of parchment which holds multiple writings on it and thus is a document that reflects the history of the acts that took place.
Applying that to the complex, Castelvecchio is a result of multiple writings where all the occupants have left their marks, either by rewriting, erasing or adding to the previous. Scarpa had to deal with this palimpsest, to reveal its historic stratification and apply a new hierarchy.
For him, the historical traces and their relations have the power to reveal history. One he accurately controls as it suggests a pedagogical tool. Through this root, he entangles relations between the historical layers of the complex for the visitor to observe. As he navigates himself through the buildings he is confronted by the Cangrande statue which for Scarpa, seems to be an exhibit tha should provide more that one single experience.
Overall, Scarpa intervention is based on relations that he himself invents for the layers he selects. Manipulating layers of different scales and properties, he critically selects what to erase and what to retain, which leads to his selective demolition, followed by his creative addition. Stuttgart ; London : Axel Menges.
Antonietta, M. Carlo Scarpa : theory, design, projects. Cambridge, Mass. Carlo Scarpa : architecture atlas. Milan : Marsilio.
In: C. Barton, ed. Washington: Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, pp. Lanzarini, O. Hass, N. Richard Murphy lecture about the work of Carlo Scarpa. Carlo Scarpa - A Profile documentary Web. Baxandall, M. Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century. The art of memory. London : Bodley Head. Tanizaki J. Atlas of Interior. Onniboni, L. Castelvecchio Museum — A masterpiece by Carlo Scarpa.
Gouwetor, F. Scarpa, Japan and other Stimuli.
Castelvecchio Museum – A masterpiece by Carlo Scarpa
One visit is not enough to understand every part that compose this project. Here we try to show you the goodness of this place, but a trip is a must. Arriving from the bridge, completely reconstructed in the postwar period after it was bombed by the German army during a retreat, we access the internal court of the fortress. The path is instinctive. Suddenly the glance travels, moving from a subject to the other, and it is directed to the sculpture of Can Grande della Scala and to the other art pieces exposed outside. We take the only possible way. It is 30 meters long and, in this space, we go on looking all around, keeping silence.
Carlo Scarpa: Castelvecchio
In , when Carlo Scarpa was responsible for the restoration of the Castelvecchio museum, the medieval castle had already been heavily remodeled: in the Napoleonic age a fort was built along the northern and eastern sides, and in , the castle underwent some restoration work aimed at its conversion into a museum. The composition by nuclei is also underlined by placing paths, stairs, and suspended corridors to reconnect structures belonging to different periods. They are made with modern materials and are thus recognizable as belonging to the layer added by Scarpa. Among these, in the vacuum created by demolishing the last span of the nineteenth-century gallery, a system of metal walkways was built to connect it with the Reggia. They surround the equestrian statue of Cangrande, which stands on a concrete base.
The following story is the third of a series that together forms an homage to a design hero. The drive from Venice to Verona is only a few hours and we arrived at Castelvecchio after lunch. The medieval museum provides visitors multiple routes to explore the collection so we split up and occasionally crossed paths. In , under the direction of Licisco Magagnato, a comprehensive vision was developed for the renovation and installation of a medieval museum.
Carlo Scarpa and Castelvecchio Revisited
One of the most enigmatic and underappreciated architects of the 20th century, Carlo Scarpa June 2, — November 28, is best known for his instinctive approach to materials, combining time-honored crafts with modern manufacturing processes. In a documentary directed by Murray Grigor , Egle Trincanato, the President of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia for whom Scarpa renovated a Venetian palace in , described how "above all, he was exceptionally skillful in knowing how to combine a base material with a precious one. Born in Venice , Scarpa spent most of his early childhood in Vicenza, before his family moved back to Venice after the death of his mother in Scarpa studied architecture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, and from until he was director of the Venini Glassworks.