Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli (Milan 1822-1879) was an important Italian collector in the 19th century. A patriot of the Risorgimento, he was sent into exile in 1849. After his return, he launched the project of a home-museum, to which he then devoted the rest of his life. Thanks to the legacy of his father and the education received from his mother, Rosa Trivulzio, he was able to gather incredible masterpieces, purchased in Italy and abroad. In contact with the great Italian and English connoisseurs, he died at the age of 57, a childless bachelor, but not before having formed a foundation to which to entrust almost 2000 objects, including paintings and works of the applied arts.

Calling you by your full name was just a waste of time: Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli d’Albertone. You were more pragmatic, and simply signed off as Giacomo Poldi. You weren’t looking to be noble through your father’s surname. In the end, what was so noble about your father’s deeds? Not much, maybe nothing. At 50 he had found himself the sole heir to a title and immoderate wealth, left by his uncle, Giuseppe Pezzoli d’Albertone, a tax collector for Maria Theresa of Austria. Lots of money and a palace on Corsia del Giardino, Milan’s noblest street in those days. A fine catch in spite of himself, your father finally looked for a wife and a more solid coat-of-arms, marrying a…