The Arese Borromeo Palace is undoubtedly a historically valuable building that has been subjected to catalogue and photographic campaigns undertaken through the years by professional photo enthusiasts and professionals. Besides the Municipality, one of the most active groups that have undertaken unitary interventions is the Lombardy Art Institute (ISAL) which, moreover keeps in its archives, a small set of photographs taken by Prof. Carlo Perogalli of the villa when it was still a private home and of the first campaign of the town hall, and the sequence of pictures commissioned to Luca Andreoni towards the end of the 1990s. It is a complex photographic campaign which has only been partly published in the volume curated by ISAL in 1999, composed of coloured photos and black and white prints achieved under the supervision of the Institute. Today, this figurative heritage is enriched by new photos ISAL commissioned to the BAMS Photo Rodella Studio in the framework of the activities regarding the set of Noble Villas of Lombardy.
The photos were authored by Basilio and Matteo Rodella who, after discussing the project coordinated by Ferdinando Zanzottera, were able to carry out the work freely, producing a series of black and white photos that could highlight the value and historical stratification of works done on the building.
Their attractive shots are a stringent study of the forms of the villa’s external areas and interior rooms and are able to gather and recount in a highly moving manner, through light and shadow, the value of the Arese family’s geometrics and architecture. The shots of the columns, pilasters, capitals, racks of noble horses and details of ancient sculptures still existing in the building, are thus fragments of a personal itinerary of the artists-photographers, who impressed on baryta paper the reality observed, restoring through an individual interpretation of the noble home, an unedited figurative narration of the villa itself. These images, in fact, do not show the 17th-century Brianza “villa of delights,” but convey (make known by narrating) like precious tiles, a reality critically studied through the lens of a camera. The images of Basilio and Matteo Rodella are a silent representation of real events that urge each of us to relate to a cultural heritage to be handed down to the future generations.
Other than a mere technical and aesthetic exercise of light on the forms of the placid frescoed walls, this new series of photographs attest to the capacity of gathering the intensity of life that took place within these walls for centuries. They help us to comprehend the value of photographic art and offer moments of reflection on the significance of producing art and the extreme need of each man to create memorials and contemplate beauty.