A New Gallery dedicated to Renowned Painter Br Antonio Moscheni inaugurated at ‘Aloyseum’

A New Gallery dedicated to Renowned Painter Br Antonio Moscheni inaugurated at ‘Aloyseum’

A New Gallery dedicated to Renowned Painter Br Antonio Moscheni, who had painted the World renowned St Aloysius College Chapel, Mangaluru inaugurated at the St Aloysius College Museum- ‘Aloyseum’

Mangaluru: On the occasion of the inauguration of the new location of St Aloysius College museum (Aloyseum), a new gallery dedicated to Br Moscheni (who had painted SAC Chapel paintings) was inaugurated today, 13 February 2020 at 9 am. Alberto Pessani, who is a renowned painter from Milan and Antonio Lamera from Stezzano, the home town of Moscheni, who is the custodian of the paintings and sketches of the Moscheni inaugurate the Gallery. They were also joined by Ms Silvana Rizzi, the grandniece of Antonio Moscheni, Roberta Nepoti, their friend from Milan, Italy, Rev Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ-Rector of St Aloysius Institutions; Fr Leo D’souza SJ- former Rector of SAC, and the man behind the new St Aloysius College Museum.

The gallery has the self-portrait of Antonio Moscheni, sketches done by him during his studies and pictures of the churches painted by him in India, along with many other paintings. St Aloysius college chapel however is the only one which is fully covered by his paintings. The paintings are a treasure not only of the College but are a national treasure of India. The paintings have become world renowned, drawing visitors in large numbers from all over the world.

Prior to the inauguration, the programme began with prayer and song led by Fr Vinod Paul SJ- Finance Officer at St Aloysius PUC joined by Jesuit brothers. Briefing on the gallery and museum, Fr Leo D’souza SJ said, ” The paintings of the St Aloysius College chapel are internationally known and admired, Though the paintings are world renounced, the painter Antonio Moscheni is very little known even in Mangaluru. There are very few records of his work at St Aloysius College. His paintings don’t bear his signature which every artist loves to have on their works. Even his grave in Cochin is not known. It was felt that he certainly deserves a remembrance. That is the back ground of today’s event”.

“It is a year since the Aloyseum was opened at its new premises. The curator Ms Kavitha felt that the first birthday of the museum should be celebrated in a worthy manner. She suggested that the best way to do this was to open a gallery dedicated to Br Antonio Moscheni. We had very little material for a gallery but luckily, Mrs Silvana Rizzi the grandniece of Moscheni who visits the chapel every year since 14 years, promised to contribute one of Moscheni,s drawings which was in her possession. Mrs Silvana is here with us today and I welcome her heartily for this event ” added Fr Leo..

He further said, “Some one who should have been present here today but had to postpone his flight because of falling sick is Antonio Lamera who was responsible for connecting Mangaluru to Stezzano the birth place of Moscheni at the occasion of the death centenary of Moscheni. He wanted to come to Mangaluru from a long time and his wish came true this year. He promised to bring six drawings of Moscheni for the proposed gallery. I am sure he is very much in spirit with us. We have with us Alberto Pessani, the husband of Mrs Rizzi, an engineer by profession and a painter by choice. He specializes in ceramic painting and has held many exhibitions in Milan and other important Italian exhibition centres. Welcome also to Roberta Nepoti, their friend from Milan, Italy”.

Ms Silvana Rizzi also spoke and expressed her joy being associated with St Aloysius College for so many years, and assured to continue her support to St Aloysius Institutions in future too. Speaking on the occasion, Rector Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ said, “It was the great spiritual writer, Thomas Merton who said, ‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time’. The paintings of Bro Moscheni gives us an experience of losing ourselves and finding ourselves in God. The principles of true Art is not to portray, but to evoke. Art unites; but to engage in art also means to accept different perspectives”

Paintings inside St Aloysius College Chapel by Bro Antonio Moscheni

“Seeing the wonderful work of Bro Moscheni both in the chapel and in the museum makes us see the beauty and experience joy. Although Bro Moscheni is looking at all of us from Heaven above, his grandniece Ms Silvana, her family and friend are here with us from Italy to represent Him here on earth and to experience these paintings of her dear grand uncle. Quoting Pablo Picasso, ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’. We are all God’s work at art-the painting reflects the artist.I reflect God. The paintings belongs to the artist. I belong to God. The painter loves his paintings. I am truly loved by God” added Rector. The programme was meticulously and professionally compered by Ms Shashikiran Nivas, the Research coordinator in Biology Lab at St Aloysius College.

ABOUT BRO ANTONIO MOSCHENI :

As narrated by Dr Fr Melwyn Pinto SJ, the media co-ordinator at St Aloysius Institutions, Antonio Moscheni Br Antonio Moscheni was born in a village called Stezzano near Bergamo in Italy on January 17, 1854. His artistic talents were discovered early and he was sent to the famed Academia Carrara in Bergamo. He studied under able masters and soon acquired considerable proficiency in the art of painting. He then went to Rome to study the masterpieces of the Vatican. Fresco painting became his passion.

In 1889 Antonio renounced the prospects of a brilliant career and became religious with Society of Jesus. Society of Jesus (Jesuits). But his religious superiors did not wish his talent to be buried. They ordered him to paint several churches in his native place as also in Albania and Yugoslavia. They then sent him in 1898 to Mangaluru to paint the Chapel of St Aloysius College. It took him a little over two years to cover the walls and ceiling of the Chapel with frescos and oil paintings. Later he painted the church of St Joseph’s Seminary, the church of Most Holy Saviour, Agrar near Bantwal and the Holy Name Cathedral in Bombay.

On November 15, 1905, as he was painting a church, Santa Cruz Basilica in Kochi he fell sick and breathed his last. He was buried in the Christian cemetery in Kochi. St Aloysius College chapel, however, is the only one which is fully covered by his paintings. The paintings are a treasure not only of the College but are a national treasure of India. The paintings have become world-renowned, drawing visitors in large numbers.

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