Quattro chiacchiere
Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo

Quattro chiacchiere is a comic-strip story Spugna has set at MuNDA – the National Museum of Abruzzo.

Every now and then, Pietro feels overcome by the shadow of melancholia. For a man like him, being stuck in his slippers and dressing gown, far from his fans, is a real shame… Boys and girls, we’re talking about a certain Mr Mammoth, four metres tall, one of the finest in Europe! He used to be a veritable superstar. But now… Yeah, that earthquake was a tough blow, but after a fall you just have to get up and dust yourself off: soon enough, the visitors’ll be back to find him. At least that’s what his special friend, a guy who always knows the score, keeps telling him… talking to him on the phone is always a morale booster!

Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo

Housed in the 16th-century castle of L’Aquila and inaugurated in 1951, the MuNDA incorporates the collections of the city’s municipal and diocesan museums as well as one of the most complete fossil skeletons of the southern mammoth in Europe. The catastrophic earthquake of 6 April 2009 made it necessary to close the castle and repairs are still under way. The museum’s new life began in December 2015, when it reopened in the old municipal abattoir opposite the Fountain with 99 Spouts. After careful refurbishment and the installation of seismic protection systems, the new premises now present a selection of 250 archaeological items and over 150 works of painting, sculpture, jewellery and ceramics ranging from the medieval period to the 17th century. These masterpieces bear witness to the identity and history of the region as a whole and the vitality of its culture.

A Museum of Character
On my visit to the new MuNDA, I realized I’d never visited a museum with such a special “personal” history. When I found out this place was a slaughterhouse before conversion into a museum after the 2009 earthquake, well, that was a powerful story right there. All of the works housed inside come from the Spanish Fort at L’Aquila, the former National Museum of Abruzzo, which is currently being restored after that terrible event. When I came across the “Penne Christ”, with its smashed-in yet charismatic nose, he struck me as a perfect lead character: a Christ Deposed who has been in the wars, who shows us how to get up again, even bearing the scars. And when I found out the former museum still hosts a mammoth called “Pietro”, well, I thought the two of them would have plenty to say to one another!
Spugna is Tommaso Di Spigna’s pen name.
Born in 1989, this illustrator and comic-book artist lives and works in Milan. Founder and Art Director of the self-published Lucha Libre magazine, he works far and wide with people in the Italian self-publishing world. His debut graphic novel, Una brutta storia, was published by GRRRz in 2014, winning him the Boscarato Prize at TCBF 2015 for “Best Emerging Author”. His graphic novel The Rust Kingdom (Hollow Press, 2017) earned him the Premio Nuove Strade at Napoli COMICON 2018. The same publisher brought out Gnomicide (2018) and The Wizard Hat (2019). Spugna worked on the Progetto Stigma book Rubens with Cammello, Akab and Nova Sin.
Relief of gladiatorial combat
1st century BCE Found in 1879 during excavations for roadworks, this is probably the earliest surviving relief depicting gladiators. The two adversaries have armour of the Hellenistic kind, greaves on the left leg only and large, rectangular shields. Their weapons are long spears and two assistants are shown carrying spares. This is the characteristic equipment of Samnites, one of the oldest categories of gladiators, which disappeared at the beginning of the Imperial age and is not included in the revised classification of Augustus.
The Beffi Tryptych
Master of the Beffi Tryptych Datable between 1410 and 1415, the painting is characterized by subtle charm, vivid realism, powerfully solid figuration and vibrant colour. The cusped central panel shows the enthroned Virgin and the Child playing with her veil. The side panels present scenes in the life of Mary with the kneeling figure of the donor at the bottom on the left and the Israelite high priest Ananias, whose hands were crippled and paralysed when he attempted to overturn the Virgin's coffin, on the right.
St Sebastian
Silvestro dell’Aquila The saint, shown standing with his hands tied to the trunk of a tree, is an adolescent with a bony chest, a delicately depicted body and thick locks of hair on either side of his face. The artist focuses on a psychological portrayal of the sainted martyr that reaches its peak in the face transfigured by pain and mystical ecstasy. The donor is identified by the inscription on the base of the triptych: “QUEST’OPERA FU COMMISSIONATA DA DON DOMENICO DI ANTONIO DE CAPRINIS DA AQUILA NEL 1478”.
Episodes in the life of St John of Capistrano
Master of San Giovanni da Capestrano The most courageous and charismatic saint of the Franciscan order, who travelled all through Europe on a difficult mission to spread and defend the faith, is shown in the central panel holding a banner with a red cross and the monogram of the Holy Name of Jesus. The four side panels instead show the most important episodes in his life as a preacher, diplomat and leader of the crusade against the Turks: The Mass in the Field, The Battle of Belgrade, The Sermon in L’Aquila and The Death of the Saint.
Cristo deposto 1
Artista abruzzese (fine del XIII secolo)
Presepe di Tione 2
Saturnino Gatti
San Sebastiano 3
Silvestro dell’Aquila
Sant’Antonio Abate 4
Saturnino Gatti