The Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura della Compagnia di San Paolo has, as part of its strategic planning, the responsibility to promote the knowledge of the cultural heritage and research in the humanities in innovative ways so as to reach as wide a public as possible. The conservation and management of the Historical Archives of the Compagnia di San Paolo and supporting early-career researchers are the main programmes of the Foundation. Among the cultural institutions in Turin, the Foundation also plays a leading part in the project ‘Residenze Sabaude’, to restore and promote the various residences of the Savoy dynasty, a project which was set up to encourage the creation of a tourist circuit which would join the various residences, collectively declared by UNESCO to be a world heritage site. The Fondazione 1563 has been a member of the organising committee of the Consortium for the Royal Savoy Residences (‘Consorzio delle Residenze Reali Sabaude’) since the Consortium was set up in 2017 at the Venaria Reale complex (a Savoy palace outside Turin), together with the Italian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Piedmont Regional authority, the Venaria Reale Town Council, and the Compagnia di San Paolo.
The mission of the Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura is stated in article 2 of the Statute which established it: its aims are “to support the conservation, enrichment and promotion of the artistic and cultural heritage, including libraries and archives, and to encourage research and specialist training in the field of the humanities”. The various two- and three-year plans undertaken by the Foundation reflect its mission. They are centred on art and culture with special focus on projects which will have an impact in Turin and Piedmont but without neglecting opportunities to create national and international networks for research and study. The plans also provide concrete indications of how the Fondazione 1563, as an instrumental entity belonging to one of the leading banking foundations in Europe, namely the Compagnia di San Paolo, will put its aims into practise, as part of the activities of the Compagnia itself which fall under the heading ‘Art, cultural activities and cultural assets’.
Programmes and activities of the Foundation to promote culture in Turin
The Foundation is one of the most active cultural institutions in Piedmont; on the basis of its two- and three-year plans, its activities are mainly focused in the following areas and themes:
- The conservation and promotion of the Historical Archives of Compagnia di San Paolo as a whole and the support of historical research based on the archive;
- The digitisation of the archival holdings of the Historical Archives of Compagnia di San Paolo (D.A.C.-D.igtal A.rchives and C.ollections) and the creation of a Images Library;
- The development and support of research in the humanities, within the Study Programme on the Age and the Culture of Baroque, with a special focus on the new generation of early-career researchers. The main associated activities are the funding opportunities for specialised study and the project ‘Antico e Moderno’ (‘Ancient and Modern’);
- The publication of research relating to the Fondazione 1563’s programmes in dedicated publishing series.
The Foundation’s activities also include, as part of its two- and three-year plans, offering advice and consultation on archival, historical and art-historical subjects to the Compagnia di San Paolo and its other instrumental entities.
There are various ways in which the Foundation carries out its initiatives: offering research grants and fellowships, calls for essays, and publishing prizes and organising seminars, presentations and other opportunities for established and younger scholars in a given field to work together, as well as courses and conferences. A particular focus is given to the possible intersections between the research activities relating to the archive and the support for work on the Baroque, given the richness of the 16th and 17th century holdings in the Historical Archives in Piazza Bernini in Turin, in what was the Duchessa Isabella College for Girls. The building underwent extensive restoration from 2009 to 2015; it also houses the cycle of paintings done for the cycle of paintings of the ancient Oratory of Compagnia di San Paolo (also restored with the support of the bank Intesa San Paolo), and is therefore the space where the heritage which the Foundation conserves and which it promotes come together.
The Foundation’s planning guidelines
The three-year plan 2012-14 was the first such plan approved under the new Statute and was aimed at putting into practice in various ways the mission of the Foundation. The plan focused on two key elements – the conservation and promotion of the Historical Archives of the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Study Programme on the Age and the Culture of Baroque – without neglecting other areas as part of its mission to safeguard the cultural heritage and support art and culture in Piedmont. So the plan also made provision for promoting two collections which had earlier been acquired: the Giuseppe and Bartolomeo Gallo Collection and the Angelo and Jolanda Dragone Collection of Contemporary Art. In addition, the Foundation as the instrumental entity belonging to the Compagnia di San Paolo, supports the Conservation and Restoration Center ‘La Venaria Reale’ as well as the Consortium in charge of the promotion of ‘La Venaria Reale’ (Consorzio di Valorizzazione Culturale ‘La Venaria Reale’), both associations designed to promote the extraordinary Baroque palace which is one of the ‘Residences of the Royal House of Savoy’ designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
With the two-year plan 2016-2017, the Foundation’s involvement with the ‘Consorzio di Valorizzazione Culturale “La Venaria Reale”’ has increased while the support for the promotion of key projects such as those to do with the Gallo and Dragone Collections continues. In addition to these commitments, the Foundation plays an outstanding role as a centre for the promotion both nationally and internationally of the exceptional archive and photographic collection belonging to the Historical Archives of the Compagnia di San Paolo, with the design of the online ‘Virtual Reading Room’ for the archive and the digitisation of the Images Library. With its research grants for specialist training, the prize for unpublished work on the Baroque, and the ‘Ancient and Modern’ project the Foundation encourages new opportunities for research as part of its Baroque Programme in Turin and Piedmont and elsewhere.