Palazzo Sorlini, where MarteS (Sorlini Art Museum) is located, is a typical seventeenth-century Brescian building, a complex structure whose impressive architecture can be fully appreciated from the inside. The main entrance, defined by an elegant ashlar gate, marks the main perspective axis crossing the entrance hall and the large courtyard, delimited on one side by a portico and on the other two by two wide colonnades, all the way to the garden enclosed by an imposing ashlar arch surmounted by two obelisks.
On the portico are the busts of Luciano’s father and uncle, Antonio and Stefano Sorlini.
At the centre of the courtyard is an old spring transformed into a fountain adorned by a luxuriant Southern maidenhair fern, a spontaneous fern that Luciano Sorlini used to personally take care of.
At the centre of the garden is a great statue of Mars by Brescian Federico Severino, who also made the bronze handles on the Museum doors.
Palazzo Sorlini was originally built for the Buzzoni family and then passed to the Bruni Conter family who in turn sold it to Luciano Sorlini who carried out a radical restoration project to remove any later additions, reinstate the original plan, and enhance the building’s decorative apparatus, the elegant seventeenth century stucchi in particular.
The piano nobile and the large halls were never used by the Sorlini family: Luciano Sorlini in fact set his residence in the nineteenth-century wing that in some parts still shows its original wall decorations.
Luciano Sorlini in fact always envisioned the palazzo as an exhibition space for his growing collection, although he always enjoyed the daily presence of his favourite artworks by tastefully displaying them in the rooms where he used to live: his beloved Pietro and Alessandro Longhi (Venice 1733–1813) paintings, which he kept in his small living room, or Christ and the Samaritan Woman by Giandomenico Tiepolo (Venice 1727–1804) and the Virgin and Child by Francesco Fontebasso (Venice 1707–1769) that used to hang in his bedroom.
The main courtyard is followed by a second one with two large olive trees, and then by a third courtyard with fresco-decorated architectures dating to the fifteenth century, attesting perhaps the presence of an old monastic community in this area of Calvagese.
Palazzo Sorlini also features a remarkable chapel entitled to Saint Philip Neri containing a 1572 altarpiece by Francesco Ricchino (an artist who trained with Alessandro Bonvincino, known as Moretto) depicting the Annunciation with Saints Francis and Jerome.