Castello Sforzesco, 16 March – 3 April 2016
Casa Testori, 9 April – 8 May 2016
MVSA, Museo Valtellinese di Storia e Arte, 14 May – 6 June 2016


There is something extraordinary about this “transfer” of two of the most famous sculptures from the Sacro Monte of Varallo to Casa Testori. The unprecedented aspect lays in seeing for once a piece of the Sacro Monte outside its natural context. To see it up close, to be able to walk around it, to study it.
For the visitors it was an experience destined to stimulate unprecedented gazes, unexpected short circuits, in front of these bodies so boldly at odds with one another.
Following the restoration carried out by the Bottega Gritti, which has given us back an astonishing “authentic” vision of the two sculptures, new problems have opened up for scholars, and with the problems new hypotheses on which to shed light.
Certainly, no better opportunity than this could have been foreseen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of that fundamental book by Giovanni Testori, which brought the greatness of Gaudenzio Ferrariand the fascination of the Sacro Monte di Varallo to the attention of a vast public. Today that book is back in a new edition, edited by Giovanni Agosti, and published by the same publisher as at the time, Feltrinelli: and this is another reason to celebrate. The title of the book has almost become the claim of the Sacro Monte of Varallo: “Il gran teatro montano”.
An extraordinary book, which Giovanni put in the coffin of his father Edoardo, a fundamental figure for the writer, to whom an exhibition was dedicated in the “Testori” room on the first floor, 50 years after his death.
A fragment of the “great theatre” has left its age-old stage, to conquer, we are sure, new audiences. So, Casa Testori hosted the Gran teatro montano, with the touching and at the same time impressive scene of the Christ of the Passion dragged by a Manigoldo. Two real bodies, in dialectic with each other. A sculpture that has in its genes the expansion towards scenic action. A highly contagious fragment of theatre, which encouraged many visitors to go and discover, or rediscover, Varallo, the “eighth wonder of the world”, as Oscar winner Toni Servillo called it.

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Castello Sforzesco
16 March – 3 April 2016

At the centre of room XVII of the Civic Museum of Milan, dedicated to sculpture, the exhibition of the two statues provided an exceptional all-round view, thanks to a precise comparison with some statues preserved there, capable of highlighting affinities and differences with Gaudenzian sculpture of the Sacro Monte: from the head attributed to Gaudenzio Ferrari, to the Magdalene by Giovanni Angelo Del Maino, acquired by the Municipality of Milan and presented for the occasion.

Casa Testori
9 April – 8 May 2016

MVSA, Museo Valtellinese di Storia e Arte
14 May – 6 June 2016


Presentation of the restoration of the two sculptures
Castello Sforzesco, Sala Bertarelli
4 April 2016

Presentation to the public of the results of the restoration work carried out on the two statues, in the presence of the director of the Ente Sacri Monti Elena De Filippis and restorers Eugenio and Luciano Gritti. The presentation was an opportunity for numerous scholars to see the two sculptures live and to take part in the attributional debate on the Manigoldo, visible in its original colour.

Presentation of the new edition of “Il gran teatro montano”
Villa Venino Municipal Library, Novate Milanese
16 April 2016

Presentation of the new edition of the book edited by Giovanni Agosti, at the presence of the author, the director of Casa Testori Davide Dall’Ombra, the director of Ente Sacri Monti Elena De Filippis and the Feltrinelli editorial director Alberto Rollo.

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Posted on: 4 November 2021, by : Alessandro Ulleri