As we traveled through Italy this past summer, I increasingly became drawn to the devil in the details. This one from an anonymous painting (see image below) of “The Saints” dating from 1516 is among my favorites. The cute little fellow is being crushed somewhat nonchalantly by Saint Catherine of Siena.
“The Saints” hangs in the Museo Civico Casa Cavassa. Construction of the palace was begun in the 14th century. The medieval building came into the possession of Galeazzo Cavassa in 1450 after he became the general vicar of the Marquis of Saluzzo.
His son Francesco transformed the family headquarters into a “modern” center of Renaissance art and culture. Unfortunately, Francesco fell out of favor with a new Marquis, was imprisoned and was subjected to a violent end. The art collection Francesco had assembled was plundered; although the palace remained in the family’s hands until a 1775 sale to the Marquis Emanuele Tapparelli d’Azeglio.
The Marquis Tapparelli was determined to restore Casa Cavassa to its Renaissance appearance, commissioning appropriate furnishings and beginning to fill it with art. Following his death in 1890, the restored structure was turned over to the municipality as a museum.