Lechi Museum was founded in 2012 to host the collections donated in 2005 to the Municipality of Montichiari by the counts Luigi and Piero Lechi. The collection consists of 365 inventory numbers including paintings, drawings, prints and porcelain. The ancient provenance of the works from galleries of noble Brescia families such as the Lechi, the Avogadro, the Fenaroli, the Martinengo, the Valotti, allows a broad look at the history of Lombard collections between the 18th and19th centuries; the permanent itinerary is set up on the first floor of Palazzo Tabarino with a selection of about fifty paintings distributed in 13 rooms according to a chronological and thematic order, from the 15th to the 19th century. Among the most significant artists there are some masters of Lombard, Venetian and Roman painting such as Alessandro Bonvicino called Moretto, Giulio Campi, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Giovan Battista Gaulli called Baciccio, Giovanni Battista Pittoni, Alessandro Magnasco, Pietro Bellotti, Luigi Basiletti, while an entire room is dedicated to a group of important works by Giacomo Ceruti known as Pitocchetto, among which “La donna che fa la calza” (Woman who’s making a sock), considered one of his pauperistic masterpieces, stands out. Lastly, in the hall dedicated to the conferences, a deposit is set up, which can be visited on demand, with about 40 paintings arranged in a gallery.
For the youngest visitors, the museum offers a fun game of detail hunting among the exhibits.
The cataloguing data of some of the works up to the 19th century can be viewed on the web portal Lombardia Beni Culturali at the link below:
The cataloguing data of the 19th century works can be viewed on the web portal of the Rete dei Musei dell’800 lombardo at the link below:
Wednesday to Saturday 10am-1pm and 2.30pm-6pm
Last entry 30 minutes before closing.
Throughout the Museum
Closed on non-holiday Mondays and Tuesdays
Closed 25 December, 1 January, Easter Sunday
Corso Martiri della Libertà, 33
25018 Montichiari BS
Tel. +39 030 9650455
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The fascinating history of the Lechi collections started around the half of the 18th century when this family, formerly called “de Lecho”, at the height of its wealth, built the sumptuous villa of Montirone (Brescia). They also equipped the city palace with a real picture gallery, collected by Count Pietro Lechi (1690-1764) out of respect for a tradition so popular among the educated aristocracy of the time. With Faustino Lechi (1730-1800), Pietro’s son, collecting paintings became an irresistible passion, thanks to favourable circumstances too, such as the first sales of the artistic heritage of the Lombard clergy that from the second half of the 18th century contributed to enrich numerous Italian and European private collections. At the end of the century, Faustino’s collection was composed of almost six hundred paintings with important masterpieces of the 16th and 17th centuries, above all painted by artists from Brescia. Faustino’s sons took part in the military events following the French invasion of Lombardo-Veneto (1797) alongside the Napoleonic troops, as officers in the army of the Cisalpine Republic. A choice that Lechi family paid dearly during the brief return of the Austro-Russian forces to Brescia (1799) with the brutal looting of the family palace in the city and the exile of Faustino Lechi in Genoa, where he died in 1800. What remained of the collection he had so lovingly built was soon sold to one of the many foreign speculators who, in those years, used to travel to Italy taking advantage of the moment. At the beginning of the 19th century a new collection of paintings took shape thanks to general Teodoro Lechi (1778-1866), the tenth son of Faustino, who devoted himself to the military career fighting with Napoleon Bonaparte on the most famous battlefields in Europe, from Austerlitz to the Moscova. And then, in the Italian Risorgimento, he was a protagonist in the anti-Austrian conspiracy of 1814 and the Five Days of Milan in 1848. Events that determined his condemnation to hard prison, exile in Turin and humiliating patrimonial requisitions. Once again, the collection, rich in extraordinary works, was therefore sacrificed and dispersed to escape the consequent difficulties.
During the 20th century Fausto Lechi (1892-1979), great-grandson of General Teodoro, although not able to restore the prestige of the collections of the ancestors, dedicated his life to a civil and intellectual commitment, organising in 1930s the first exhibitions of investigation of painters from Brescia from the 15th to the 19th century and then carrying out worthwhile historical and artistic studies. It is in this new family dedication that Luigi and Piero Lechi matured their collecting interests, thus recovering the great tradition of the family and finally sharing the choice of allocating the respective artistic collections to the public benefit. They donated them in May 2005 and July 2008 to the Municipality of Montichiari, where Luigi had worked as a notary for more than forty years. After his death in November 2010 the organisation of this museum started with the idea to honour the memory and the noble intentions.
The photographic collection Fausto Lechi
In 2012, with the birth of the Lechi Museum, theFausto Lechi Archive was established, dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of the photographic collection collected by the great historian from Brescia, and composed of about ten thousand positives made by professional photographers in Brescia and its province, between 1950 and 1979, to document with extreme completeness the architecture and the state of conservation of the historic houses in Brescia. Part of these images were then used to illustrate the seven volumes of Le Dimore bresciane in cinque secoli di storia, a work edited by Fausto Lechi and published between 1973 and 1979, which has now become an indispensable research tool for students and scholars. The work of sorting and cataloging this large photographic collection is currently underway by Paolo Boifava and Michela Capra, with the aim of making it usable through the Information System for Cultural Heritage of the Lombardy Region (SIRBeC).