In 1827 Earl Luigi Tadini had all his collections moved from his private residence in Crema to Lovere and during the last two years he was still alive he personally supervised their arrangement in his new palace, now one of the most important museums in Lombardy.
Earl Tadini‘s collection shows the different interests of an aristocrat, grown up in the Enlightenment, who gathers in his library books of literature, philosophy, history and science. He shows great interest in the various expressions of art, of science and of nature. Together with paintings, sculptures, drawings and engravings he collects porcelains and then minerals, fossils and stuffed animals. The masterpieces by Jacopo Bellini, Paris Bordon, and Fra Galgario, on display in the Gallery, are interesting examples of Italian painting from the 14th the 19th centuries.
Earl Tadini had a close relationship with sculptor Antonio Canova, whose works are the core of the collections. Later on they were enriched with sculptures by Giovanni Maria Benzoni who had had his apprenticeship at the Tadini Academy and had later become one of the protagonists of Italian nineteenth-century sculpture.
However, it is above all the refined biscuits and the fragile porcelains of Meissen, Sevres, and Capodimonte which allow the visitor to understand Neoclassical taste in depth.
It is Earl Tadini himself who tells us how the collection of paintings, considered the pride of the Academy, took shape: “I already had some beautiful paintings in my mansions in Verona and in the countryside, but I had the opportunity to buy more at low prices in public auctions after the suppression of monasteries and churches and from old noble families in need”.
Luigi Tadini acquired paintings from Crema during the period of suppression of ecclesiastical institutions so that the Tadini Museum would in some way document the city’s history. Thus the collection contains altarpieces by Paris Bordon (Manfron altarpiece), Vincenzo Civerchio and Aurelio Gatti.
The count became interested in Venetian paintings around 1810, acquiring masterpieces such as the 14th Century Madonna and Child by Jacobello di Bonomo, the Madonna and Child by Iacopo Bellini, the Madonna and Child and Saints by Palma il Giovane and the Dead Christ by Piero della Vecchia. These are joined by 15th and 16th Century paintings from the school of Verona such as the Madonna and Child by Francesco Benaglio, Saints Francis and William by Domenico Brusasorci, the Escape to Egypt by Felice Brusasorci and significant testimonies of 17th Century culture such as the two paintings by Carlo Francesco Nuvolone, Pietro Ricchi, Bernardo Strozzi, Jacopo Langetti, Bernardino Fusari, Carlo Maratta, fra’ Galgario.
Unfortunately, unlike his contemporaries such as the Brixian Paolo Tosio, Earl Tadini was not interested in contemporary 19thcentury art: almost all the 19th century paintings were added to the Gallery after his death.