Mangaluru: At first glance, there may be nothing that immediately attaches Mangaluru with the quaint Italian village of Stezzano. After all, one is regarded as a coastal pasture of Karnataka while the other is landlocked in Bergamo. Just as the former has seen a meteoric transformation over the years, the latter seems perfectly preserved in the Renaissance era. But through their storied pasts, there emerges an artistic bridge between both these places: a bridge built by Br Antonio Moscheni.
An art gallery dedicated to Stezzano-born artist Moscheni, who is responsible for the paintings adorning St Aloysius College Chapel was inaugurated at the SAC Museum on Thursday, February 13.
Moscheni’s grandniece Silvana Rizzi, renowned Milanese painter Alberto Pessani and his wife Roberta Nepoti were the guests at the inauguration. SAC Rector Fr Dionysius Vaz presided over the programme.
Welcoming the gathering, Fr Leo D’Souza pointed out that Moscheni was a little-known artist who never even signed his own work. “It is all a mystery to us. When he (Moscheni) died in Kochi, he was buried in a grave where there was no tombstone,” he said.
Instead of delivering a speech, chief guest Pessani took to a whiteboard and quickly traced out a world map to illustrate the vast distance that Moscheni’s legacy had travelled from Italy to India.
Later, the dignitaries drew back the curtains to formally unveil the various sketches and paintings of Moscheni centered around his own portrait.
In his presidential address, Fr Dionysius Vaz said, “The paintings of Br Moscheni give us the experience of losing ourselves and finding ourselves. The principle of art is to evoke. I hope that children learn art, beauty, aesthetic along with science and technology.”
About Antonio Moscheni
Talking to News Karnataka about the processes involved in acquiring Moscheni’s works for the gallery, Museum Curator Kavitha said, “The people from Italy, as well as Father Leo, really helped me a lot. They got the material dating back to ten years. I did my own research as well about his paintings in Indian churches.”
She further informed that Moscheni, a Jesuit priest sent to India specifically for his artistic skills, has painted the St Joseph’s Seminary in Kankanady and the Agrar church in Bantwal apart from the SAC Chapel.
The newly-located SAC museum has completed one year since its renovated look and features several interesting artifacts such as rare minerals and fossils, a collection of Roman coins and stamps, tools from the Bronz Age, weapons from the Tipu Sultan-era, and, most notably, Mangaluru’s first automobile.
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