Exhibition Pieter Brueghel the Younger - The Crucifixion of Castelnuovo Magra. Restoration and Comparisons

The exhibition :

Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The Crucifixion of Castelnuovo Magra. Restoration and Comparisons is curated by Rossana Vitiello with the collaboration of Andrea Marmori, Valentina Tonini, and Martina Avogadro, and the setup is curated by Emanuele Martera. The exhibition showcases significant works by the artist and the extraordinary painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Brussels 1564 – Antwerp 1638) depicting the Crucifixion, aiming to enhance the work at the end of the extensive restoration carried out at the laboratory of the Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape Superintendence for the metropolitan city of Genoa and the province of La Spezia, in collaboration with the University of Genoa for diagnostic investigations. This important occasion has shed new light on this Flemish masterpiece, which arrived at the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena in Castelnuovo Magra in 1890. Its recent history has been marked by dramatic events, including thefts and attempted thefts, underscoring once again the importance of safeguarding and preventive activities for our cultural heritage. This Crucifixion, unique in Italy, is one of the replicas of a lost prototype, of which about twenty versions exist, all executed within Brueghel's workshop and preserved in various international museums. The exhibition includes the Crucifixion from the Church of Saint Séverin in Paris, allowing for a previously unseen iconographic and stylistic comparison between two examples of this subject. Additionally, the Ascent of Christ to Mount Calvary from the Estense Galleries in Modena attests to the success of this theme already in the late sixteenth century. Figures drawn from the peasant context participating in the religious subject are consistently found in other works from Pieter Brueghel's workshop related to genre painting, as evidenced by the Kermesse of Saint George from the National Museum of Pisa showcased in the exhibition. The exhibition is promoted by the Municipality of La Spezia with the patronage of the Liguria Region, the Archaeological Superintendence of Fine Arts and Landscape for the Metropolitan City of Genoa and the Province of La Spezia, and the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. It was realized with the contribution of Fondazione Carispezia for the restoration intervention as part of the 2021 Open Call in favor of the Parish of Santa Maria Maddalena in Castelnuovo Magra and the support of Coop Liguria.  

Works on display:  

  • Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Crucifixion, oil on panel, Parish of Santa Maria Maddalena, Castelnuovo Magra (SP)
  • Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Ascent of Christ to Mount Calvary, late 16th century, Modena, Estense Galleries
  • Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Kermesse of Saint George, Pisa, National Museum of Palazzo Reale
  • Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Crucifixion, Paris, Eglise Saint-Séverin


Amedeo Lia Civic Museum

Via del Prione 234, La Spezia  

Tel. +39 0187 727220  

Email: museolia@comune.sp.it