Slide Una selezione di sepolture preziose e altri elementi di rilevanti di iconografia e iconologia funeraria e religiosa The Sacred Beauty

The Charterhouse is, first and foremost, a place of intimate and devout recollection that emanates the eternal beauty of the past. The splendid alternations of grass and stone are brought together in the funerary art, which is found in some of its most brilliant expressions within the complex.

You’ll have the opportunity to admire magnificent busts and statues, little gems of funerary iconography, and extraordinary works of sepulchral architecture brought to life by the skilful hands of master sculptors. Antonio Canova, one of the greatest names in neoclassicism, lent his talent to sculpt the bust of Leonardo Cicognara, his biographer. But other authoritative religious sculptors have left their marks among the Charterhouse’s Cloisters as well, including Ambrogio Zuffi, Alfonso Lombardi, Luigi Legnani, and Camillo Torreggiani.

Lovers of spirituality won’t want to miss the terracotta Via Crucis in the First Grand Cloister by eclectic sculptor Ulderico Fabbri, while architecture enthusiasts will want to dedicate special attention to the two sepulchral monuments dedicated to Giovanni Boldini.
A stop at the Church of San Cristoforo, which has recently undergone considerable interior structural and restoration work, is an absolute must. The building, which was designed by Biagio Rossetti, one of the greatest names in Renaissance architecture, was subjected to these renovation efforts in order to ensure its structural soundness, and, above all, to restore the ancient beauty of its masterpieces of religious art painted by masters like Carracci, Scarsellino, Bononi and Bastianino.

Cell of Ferrara’s illustrious citizens
Daniele Bartoli e Alfonso Varano
By Antonio Canova and Alfonso Lombardi

Since 1835, this cell has housed the remains of some of Ferrara’s most distinguished personalities, who are exalted with statues and portraits. One example of particular beauty is the bust of historian and art critic Leonardo Cicognara (Ferrara 1767 – Venice 1834) by Antonio Canova, whose biography was written by Cicognara himself (the work was unfortunately damaged during the earthquake of 2012). The equally notable statues of poets Vincenzo Monti (Alfonsine 1754 – Milan 1828) and Alfonso Varano (Ferrara 1705-1788), and Jesuit Daniello Bartoli (Ferrara 1608-1685), are by Alfonso Lombardi.

Funerary monument to Giovanni Battista Costabili Containi
By Pietro Tenerari

Pietro Tenerani, a pupil of Bartolini in Carrara, achieved considerable international fame; his works are currently disputed by several major museums around the world. The monument that he designed, which was sculpted by Gaetano Davia, depicts Giovanni Battista Costabili Containi, a prominent politician in Napoleonic Italy, and the owner of a valuable library and art gallery. Costabili is seated with the senatorial insignia, and is flanked by two female figures, allegories of Justice and Industry. The base contains a bas-relief commemorating Costabili himself on a diplomatic mission to see Napoleon. The work is found inside the Magnani Cell, which also contains other remarkable tombs.

Francesco Bonaccioli
By Camillo Torreggiani

Built in 1861, this sepulchral monument consists of a colossal bust of the deceased politician Francesco Bonaccioli, surmounted by an apse. While Camillo Torreggiani sculpted many of the works found at the Ferrara Charterhouse, he left his mark on other Italian, European and South American cities as well. His bust of Queen Isabella of Spain is held at the Museum of Modern Art in Madrid.

Cell of Massari Zavaglia
By Giulio Monteverde

Having begun his career as a talented wood carver, Giulio Monteverde later became well-known as a sculptor of funerary and commemorative monuments, first in Genoa and later in Rome. The realistic-style Massari cell is one of his greatest works on the theme of the Angel of Death, and is considered to be one of the best artefacts present at the Ferrara Charterhouse. The central sarcophagus depicts the great philanthropist Count Galeazzo Massari in his deathbed, wrapped in a funerary shroud, with an angel kneeling over his head guarding the tomb.

Tomb of Lilia Magnoni Monti
By Vincenzo Consani

The monument depicts the three mourning sons of Lilia Magnoni Monti placing flowers on their mother’s tomb. A female figure is portrayed flying into the sky above, an allegory of the soul of the deceased. Two hands holding one another are carved at the centre of the tympanum, enclosed within a floral garland, symbolising both conjugal love and the final farewell. The sculpture is the work of Vincenzo Consani, who patrons even included Queen Victoria of England. Lilia Magnoni Monti herself is depicted in a famous painting by Giovanni Boldini.

Galloni Tomb
By Cesare Zocchi

The monument depicts a sarcophagus flanked by an angel looking upwards, holding an upside down torch in its left hand and pointing to the tomb with its right; a clear Allegory of Fame. The tomb and its monument originally belonged to the Piva family, and later passed under the ownership of the Galloni family in the early twentieth century. It was sculpted by Cesare Zocchi, whose statues adorn the façade of the Duomo of Florence and the monument to Dante in Trento.

Tomb of Filippo Dotti
By Camillo Torreggiani

The main sculpture of the arch depicts a veiled female figure, holding a garland in her left hand, weeping over the tomb in the stereotypical fashion of a person in mourning. The three medallions surrounding the sepulchral monument depict Filippo Dotti and his daughters Isabellina and Vittoria, who passed away prematurely. The tomb is the work of Camillo Torreggiani, who, among other works, sculpted a bust of Queen Isabella of Spain at the Museum of Modern Art in Madrid.

Tomb of Alessandro Strozzi
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By Giuseppe Maria Mazza

The lower part of the arch features a carved tomb adorned with two floral wreaths on the sides, beneath which two upside down torches are carved. The tomb is covered by a triangular marble slab with a bas-relief at the bottom, previously owned by the Strozzi family, which depicts the Holy Family resting during their flight to Egypt. The monument is the work of renowned religious artist Giuseppe Maria Mazza.

Zagatti Tomb
By Pietro Arcangeli

Arcangeli, an art nouveau sculptor from Pistoia specialising in funerary art, downplays the tragic nature of death in this composition from 1911. This all-round statue depicts young Mario Zagatti, who died at just 7 years of age, running happily through a field of flowers towards the open arms of an angelic figure, while smiling cherubs watch over him in the background. At the bottom, an owl (a premonitory symbol of death) embraces the entire scene with its wings stretching over to the edges of the frame, which features medallions depicting the deceased’s parents and grandparents.

Monument to Teodoro Bonati
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By Antonio d'Este

The Cell was purchased by Don Carlo Bentivoglio d'Aragona in order to house the "remains of those who distinguished themselves in the disciplines of hydraulics and mathematics." The south wall is dedicated to the colossal monument of Teodoro Bonati (the plaque reads Theodoro Bonato), a great expert in the field of hydraulics and a member of the Italian Society of Sciences, to which several artists contributed: the design is by Ferdinando Canonici, the medallion depicting his profile is by Antonio d'Este, the decorations surrounding the large marble slab are the work of Francesco Vidoni, and the epigraph is by Pietro Giordani.

Lattuga Tomb
By Luigi Legnani

This is a curious work: the sculptor, Luigi Legnani, should have depicted an allegory of industry, but the woman portrayed here casually holding the caduceus (the symbol of medicine) is more reminiscent of the figure of Vanity, meaning a disregard of earthly things, such as industry (represented by the cogwheel) and abundance (the cornucopia).

Vincenzo Bonetti’s Arch
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By Camillo Torreggiani

This monumental structure is dominated by two statues of female figures: the one on the left, bearing a shield in her right hand and an open book in the left, is wearing a crown and likely personifies Italy; the winged figure on the right is holding a tuba, and has been identified as either the Roman goddess Victoria or the Allegory of Fame. There is also a sculpture of a winged sphere, symbolising immortality and lightness of the soul, along with the two busts of the deceased Vincenzo and Giovanni Bonetti.

Tomb of Marquis Guido Villa Lancellotti
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By Giacomo De Maria and Bartolomeo Ferrari

The tomb of Marquis Guido Villa-Lancellotti, the last of the Marquis of the Villa family (the former proprietors of Palazzo dei Diamanti), is one of the oldest at the Charterhouse. The complex system of symbols on the monument, by Bartolomeo Ferrari, includes a woman holding a crown to the left of the headstone; under the medallion, which features the bust of the deceased by neoclassical sculptor Giacomo de Maria, there are two storks fighting with snakes, the incarnation of evil; two female figures on the lower part appear to personify Charity and Strength, two qualities attributed to the Marquis Villa.

Avogli-Trotti Tomb
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By Luigi Legnani

Luigi Legnani sculpted busts for illustrious figures, which are now housed at the Ariostea Library, and was one of the most prolific artists to have worked for the noble chapels within the Charterhouse. This monument from 1885 includes the beautiful all-round sculpture of a female figure kneeling at the foot of a cross, identified as an allegory of Prayer.

Tomb of Paolo Bergami
madonna velata
By Camillo Torreggiani

The most prominent feature of this funerary monument is a sculpture of a veiled woman holding a cross in her right hand, and the remains of what would appear to be a chalice in her left; it has been identified as an allegory of Chastity and Faith. The work also features a medallion depicting the profile of the late Paolo Bergami, which is flanked by two storks fighting against two snakes, representing the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Via Crucis
By Ulderico Fabbri

Eclectic sculptor Ulderico Fabbri began his artistic career in Rome, creating male nudes and symbolic compositions. He went on to become a major figure in the field of religious sculpture, with works like the mausoleum of Bishop Ruggero Bovelli in the Cathedral of Ferrara, and the Pala del Sacro Cuore at the Duomo of Milan. .
The 14 terracotta stations that make up the Via Crucis, which extends along the entire First Grand Cloister, were sculpted in 1935.

Funerary monument to Roberto Fabbri
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By Giovanni Pietro Ferrari

Roberto Fabbri was one of the first people to obtain a pilot’s licence in Italy. He died in July of 1913, at the age of 17, during a flight over the moorlands surrounding Malpensa. After the accident, Italo Balbo paid homage to the young aviator, who, in his words, died a hero “in a monumental struggle against the elements.” The commemoration of this story was entrusted to the decadent sculptor Roberto Ferrari: the funerary monument features a female figure in the clutches of an eagle, while Fabbri himself is depicted in the bas-relief below, and the plane’s engine is included in the base.

Bust of Ambrogio Zuffi
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By Ambrogio Zuffi

Trained at the school of Giuseppe Ferrari, Ambrogio Zuffi was very active as a sculptor of busts and portraits in marble and bronze. Many of the funerary monuments at the Charterhouse were done by him. This one is the self-portrait that he did for his own tomb, which has been completed with a large memorial stone bearing various funerary inscriptions and a medallion depicting Filomena Zuffi.

First Monument to Giovanni Boldini
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By Carlo Savonuzzi

Engineer Carlo Savonuzzi built this circular terracotta monument as the first tomb of painter Giovanni Boldini, who expressly wished to be buried in his native Ferrara. Together with his brother Girolamo, Savonuzzi gave a new look to the Ferrara design style of the 1920s and 30s, and completed various major projects, including the Municipal Stadium and the “Alda Costa” elementary School. The monument’s clearly rationalist design is the result of continuous and intense discussions with Boldini’s widow, Emilia Cardona.

Memorial Chapel of the Dead
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By Carlo Savonuzzi

The Memorial/Ossuary Chapel, built at the behest of the Municipality to commemorate the nineteenth century soldiers who died in the field and military hospitals during the First and Second World Wars, was inaugurated in 1961. Built in brickwork based on the designed by engineer Carlo Savonuzzi, it has an elliptical layout with a pronao at the front and a lowered bowl-shaped roof made from cement and brick. The elegant façade features an imposing portal with a round arch completed with elegant decorations in terracotta. The various decorative elements include angels, capital scrolls, shells, pelicans, and heads of cherubs.

Funerary monument to Alfred Lowell Putnam
By Camillo Torreggiani

Alfred Lowell Putnam was a young American tourist of the Protestant faith. When he died of cholera in Ferrara in 1855, his family wanted him to be entombed here, even if outside the consecrated area. The rectangular funerary monument, designed by Camillo Torreggiani, consists of four vertically tapering Doric columns, at the centre of which lies a sarcophagus covered by a cloth. The frame includes plant-motif carvings with masks in the corners, while the upper part of the entablature features straight and inverted moulding and Tuscan listels.

Church of San Cristoforo

In 1452, construction began on the primitive church and the monastery intended to host the Carthusian Order of Monks,
who settled there in 1461 and remained for over three centuries. The current building dates back to 1498, when, during the construction of the Herculean Addition ordered by Ercole (I) d'Este, the ancient temple was monumentalised and incorporated within a new majestic place of worship dedicated to St. Christopher. The project’s architect was Biagio Rossetti, who built a majestic single nave church with six side chapels, which was not entirely consistent with the architectural canons of the Carthusian Order. The interior houses a veritable trove of late Renaissance masterpieces by renowned painters from Ferrara, which have just recently been rendered available for public viewing once again after a major restoration effort following the earthquake of 2012. A monument that simultaneously commemorates the history of Ferrara, the fame of its figurative “poets”, and the eternal value of beauty.