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Carlo Scarpa e la Galleria Regionale della Sicilia. L’assenza dell’angelo Gabriele e la presenza di Frank Lloyd Wright - The absence of the Angel Gabriel and the presence of Frank Lloyd Wright


The Mandamento Tribunali is situated on Via Alloro in Palermo. Within this historical quarter, you find Palazzo Abatellis. It stands only a few metres from the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and since 1954, it has been home to the Galleria Regionale della Sicilia. On a sunny day, while looking through the portal, one can unconsciously discover an alternation of spaces defined by shadow and light. The spectator is unaware that this sequence of shadow and light will be one of the guiding themes throughout the gallery. The initial sensation occurs before even entering the building and as such, the project must be clearly explained. Above all, we must ask why Carlo Scarpa, at the beginning of the 1950’s, is present in Palermo. One could identify two paths that drew Scarpa to the island. The first was generated by employment opportunities: in 1952 he arranged (in the Ala Napoleonica of Piazza San Marco in Venice), an exhibition on Toulouse Lautrec, and in 1953 (in the Palazzo municipale of Messina), one on Antonello da Messina and the Sicilian 15th century. Roberto Calandra was highly impressed by the Venetian exhibition and therefore made “the decision to entrust Scarpa with the task of setting up the Messina exhibition.”5 The success in Messina motivated Giorgio Vigni - supervisor of the gallery and of the works of art of Sicily - to entrust Carlo Scarpa with the design of the National Gallery of Sicily and consequently, the restoration and the museum arrangement of Palazzo Abatellis.