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Francesco Pergolesi's new exhibition opens in Turin at Villa della Regina on Thursday April 20.

An exhibition curated by Carla Testore, to rediscover the role of man's best friend in the contemporary family in forty author portraits by photographer Francesco Pergolesi.

From April 20 to June 25 2023, man's best friend is the absolute protagonist of the "DIVAS - Dog Portraits" exhibition, the first hosted in the setting of the Savoy residence - today a UNESCO World Heritage Site - of Villa della Regina in Turin, in over forty portraits of author of the photographer Francesco Pergolesi. The shots tell the relationship between each dog and its owner in an unprecedented way, highlighting the evolution of its role as an effective member of the family nucleus within the home.

From the Cave canem mosaic found in the archaeological excavations of Pompeii, to the great paintings of the past up to the iconic works of the 20th century created by Elliott Erwitt, William Wegmann and Jeff Koons, the dog has often been at the center of the gaze of artists and photographers.

The initiative was also made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Regional Directorate of Piedmont Museums and the Directorate of Villa della Regina.


The dog is the primary actor, the star, the absolute protagonist of an individual portrait, but the final image reflects a cross-section of an environment of the house in which he lives and, often, the interests or passions of the owner.

"DIVAS – Dog Portraits" is a contemporary art exhibition curated by Carla Testore with the aim of revealing, through images, the connection between the owner and his four-legged friend, in the context of their home. The rooms, the domestic environments of the house become real photographic sets, thanks to Pergolesi's lens, through an accurate poetic and scenographic research.

The idea of dream and enchantment is linked to the choice of Villa della Regina as the venue for the exhibition and the ideal courtly setting for hosting the photographs of "DIVAS – Dog Portraits". The splendid hillside Villa - which overlooks the city with gardens, viewpoints, caves, tree-lined avenues and also across the only urban vineyard in Italy - will in fact be enlivened both inside and out by photographs en plein air by Francesco Pergolesi. For the first time, some of the places in the Savoy residence, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which are normally closed to the public, will also be open, including some rooms on the second floor and the Solinghi Pavilion, which will be open to visitors exclusively for the DIVAS – Dog Portraits exhibition. .

Finally, the event is part of the Torino Photo Days schedule, the review that the city dedicates to photography in the first week of May, which sees the major cultural institutions present photographic exhibitions and projects, simultaneously with The Phair (5- 6-7 May), the fair dedicated to the image.

The curator of the exhibition Carla Testore says: «Francesco Pergolesi throws drapes, pillows, duvets and mannequins and makes drawings and sheets fly, crowns the dog, throws petals and leaves, catches half-open doors that ask us on the back of that door, illuminates ships from distant ports , place man's best friend on a Peter Greenaway-style table or in a kitchen that invites even those who widen their eyes at that shot to binge.  Books, envelopes, catalogs, notes, clippings and other unknown but fascinating material puff out from overflowing shelves, and shows us real dogs looking at each other in dreamlike Fellinian disorder, with vases and flowers».

Francesco Pergolesi underlines: «Each work is the result of careful semantic and iconographic research on the one hand and scenic composition on the other. Behind each shot there is a series of artistic, cinematographic or literary references and quotations. The project was set in royal houses, revisited and staged as if they were private theatres. Precisely for this reason, the starting point often comes from interests, passions, existing collections such as toy trains, designer handbags, the dog owners' scores, so as to create an interpretation also linked to the other actor (the owner), absent in the image but present in the narration».


The exhibition is promoted and coordinated by The Others Association, has obtained the patronage of the City of Turin and the contribution of the Chamber of Commerce of Turin. It was created thanks to the contribution of MONGE, Main Partner, with the support of Furbatto Immobili and Villa Cimena and the collaboration of Allianz Assicurazioni-Agenzia Alto Piemonte, Best Friends Milan, Marco Segantin Atelier Fleuriste.


Useful information for the public:


April 20 – 25 June 25 2023

Villa della Regina

Santa Margherita Municipal Road, 79 – Turin

Hours: Weekdays 10 - 18, Days before holidays and public holidays 10 - 19, closed on Mon., Tue., Wed.

Exhibition ticket: Full 7.00, Reduced 4.00 (children 12-18)

Museum ticket: Full price 7.00, Reduced price 2.00 (children 18-25), further reductions and free tickets based on legal provisions and conventions.

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