Paul VI Collection
A Museum of Contemporary Art
The Paul VI Collection – Contemporary Art takes its name from Giovanni Battista Montini known as Pope Paul VI from 1963 and it is located in Concesio, in the province of Brescia, where Montini was originally born.
The museum is’t neither a Memorial of Paul VI nor a gallery of sacred arts, but a collection of works resulting from a human, vivid and cordial relationship among the Holy Father and many of the artists of his time.
The Museum contains and exhibits a collection of paintings, drawings, prints, medals and sculptures of the ‘900 attributed to Montini and his secretary Mons. Pasquale Macchi. Among the authors represented in the Collection there are the names of Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Dalí, Magritte, Rouault, Severini, de Chirico, Morandi, Fontana, Manzù, Hartung, Guitton and many other absolute protagonists on the national and international scene.
The Collection is arranged over two floors for a total of 1000 m2 of exhibition space. Besides the main itinerary, there are other specific sections dedicated to graphics and medals, a space for temporary exhibitions and a large didactic laboratory.
The Pope friend of artists
“…The theme is this: we need to re-establish the friendship between the Church and the artists….”
In the speech to artists, held in the Sistine Chapel on May 7th 1964, Pope Paul VI marked the beginning of a turning point for the relationship between the Church and the world of art. Thanks to his open vision inspired by modernity, Pope Paul VI affirmed that art could not be conceived anymore from the Church as a self-referential means, it cannot be measured or limited by traditional canons, actually art should be intended as free expression of the artist, a privileged passage to access to the questions of the modern man and to the research of the transcendent.
With this procedure of approaching and rediscovery of the Truth, the artist is equally creator and mediator in relation to God, able to convert the invisible into something extremely accessible and intelligible.
In Montini’s writings, there is always a constant reference to the beauty as a “splendour of the Truth”, not intended as an abstract concept or a pursuit of a formal perfection but as a real participation in divine creation. Art bears witness to a deep search inside the truth, beyond the personal choices of style and techniques of artists.
The museum complex and the Birth House
Art and spirituality in Montini’s places
The exhibition space, inaugurated in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI and made accessible from 2010, is part of a larger monumental complex which includes three buildings: northernmost there is the Paul VI Institute, an international centre of studies on the figure of Montini, the central building hosts the museum and the southernmost curvilinear building functions as an auditorium which can hold up to 250 guests.
These buildings were built on the area of relevance of Montini’s Family birthplace with the aim of ideally connecting the spaces of youth of the Holy Father with new spaces, including tangeble and tangeble heritage of his apostolate.
An interconnected museum
In 2014, Paul VI Collection was recognised as a Museum from the region of Lombardy and from 2021 has become part of the Museum and Ecomuseum Sistem of Valle Trompia; from 2015 the Museum is also a member of AMEI- Associazione Musei Ecclesiastici Italiani.
The Museum has also an agreement with FAI- Fondo Ambiente Italiano and with the TCI-Touring Club Italiano.
From 2017 the museum takes part in the project La scuola esce, la cultura cresce, in collaboration with AmbienteParco, Fondazione Brescia Musei, Museo di Scienze Naturali, Musil – Museo del Ferro, Teatro Telaio, Fondazione PInAC and Casa-Museo Zani.
The museum is also part of MAC network – Museo Accessibile e Creatività with Fondazione PInAC, Fondazione Brescia Musei, Museo Diocesano di Brescia, MAVS – Museo Archeologico della Valle Sabbia and Fondazione Musil.
In addition, Paul VI Collection works closely with institutional, cultural and associative realities of the territory, realising shared projects for the benefit of all audiences.