During the 15th century, Italian villas witnessed an incredible transformation, going from fortified country houses to places of entertainment and leisure, and in the process, experiencing deep remodeling during this transition. Used to entertain guests and as a retreat from the noise and confusion of the streets and piazzas, these villas often featured gardens emulating those of ancient Rome, adorned with an array of statuary.
One exquisite example of such villas is Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta in Lainate (Milan, Italy). Designed and built by Pirro I Visconti Borromeo between 1585 and 1589, Villa Litta comes back to life today thanks to the documentary produced, written and directed by Francesco Vitali in collaboration with the Museo Poldi Pezzoli di Milano, the Louvre Museum of Paris, the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and the National Gallery in Washington DC.
For this program, excerpts from the documentary will be screened with a presentation by Director Vitali and Dr. Allison Luchs, Curator of Early European Sculpture at the National Gallery of Art, who will illustrate the tradition of sculpture gardens in Renaissance Italy and two masterpieces from Villa Litta now part of the NGA’s collection.
To enhance the audience’s appreciation of this newly released documentary, the screening will be accompanied by a concert featuring some music by the composers who enjoyed the patronage of the Villa’s residents during the 16th-18th centuries.