The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is a historic residence located in the Montenapoleone district, in the center of Milan. “Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi,” which houses the museum is among the most important and best-preserved house museums in Europe. Since October 2008, it has been part of the “House Museums of Milan” circuit.
Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi, from Varedo, conceived together the project of building a dwelling inspired by the noble palaces of the Lombard Renaissance and furnishing it with Renaissance art objects. To this end, the two brothers decided to expand the Milanese family palace (current headquarters of the Museum) at the end of the nineteenth century.
The uniqueness of the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers’ project lay in wanting to create a harmonious whole (in architecture defined by the German term Gesamtwerk), in which the building, the fixed decorations, and the precious art objects collected with passion contributed equally to the fidelity of the Renaissance setting, still essential to the collections (including works by Giovanni Bellini, Gentile Bellini, Giampietrino, and Lorenzo di Niccolò).
The nineteenth-century culture reflected in the home of Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi was committed to seeking inspiration from the past for its artistic manifestations. However, the two brothers, deviating from the beaten path, did not combine ideas drawn from different periods. Instead of eclecticism, they directed their preferences to suggestions and objects from the Renaissance (see Neo-Renaissance), in line with the cultural program launched by the young Savoy monarchy in the aftermath of Italian Unification.